James Joyce · Finn’s Hotel. 10 Epiclets
“FINN’S HOTEL is a wonderful, serio-comic collection of ‘little epics’ that James Joyce wrote in 1923. Its existence and significance were discovered some decades ago and its publication thwarted for twenty years. Ithys Press is delighted to bring to light at long last this lost link in the Joyce canon.
Joyce wrote these pieces in 1923, some six months after his disengagement from writing his encyclopaedic Ulysses and well before he had as yet conceived of the plot, structure, or sheer immensity of his epic Finnegans Wake. Engrossing in themselves, these boldly inventive, yet highly readable prose-portraits (three of which only came to light in 2004) also provide an ideal entrée to the Wake, a book that vies with the Book of Kells as the most supremely Irish thing we have. The prose pieces of Finn’s Hotel – a place where people come and go – are written in a unique diversity of styles, much more so than Ulysses. Taken together, they form the true and hitherto unknown precursor to the multi-modulated voices of the Wake –but these first utterings from Finn’s Hotel are far easier to understand. Joyce composed the ‘epiclets’ one by one, first-drafting and fair-copying them, before having (some of) them typed out. He then laid them aside, leaving Finn’s Hotel forever unfinished, and they remained all but forgotten for sixteen years ; all, that is, save one, the ‘Pop’ piece (’Here Comes Everybody’) that pre-occupied him. He saw in it, on reflection, an opening : a line of literary development that he could follow and expand in Finnegans Wake : the story of a ‘man mountain’, H.C. Earwicker. Thus, in one room of Finn’s Hotel sat the egg from which Finnegans Wake hatched.
With this landmark publication – almost certainly the last unpublished title by James Joyce – another piece of the complex jigsaw of modern Irish literature comes into view, providing a clearer picture of the creative breadth and depth of one of the world’s preeminent writers”.
Introductory texts by Seamus Deane and Danis Rose. 13 Drawings by Casey Sorrow.
This first edition was printed letterpress. Handset in various sizes of Kis-Janson, Grasset, Penelope, Naudin and Van Dijk on the finest English handmade paper.