Summer 1946 • Vol. VIII No. 3 Nonfiction |

Joyce’s Ulysses and the French Public

It was on the 7th of December 1921 that Valéry Larbaud introduced the Irish writer, James Joyce, to the "Amis des Livres.” He spoke particularly of Ulysses, which had not yet been published in book form. This lecture, which appeared later in the Nouvelle Revue Française, now serves as a preface to Gens de Dublin, the French translation of Dubliners, and is unique in the history of literary criticism. It is the first time, I believe, that an English work has been revealed by a French writer before anything has appeared on the subject in English-speaking countries. Of course, the presence of Joyce somewhat explains the phenomenon, but when one considers the difficulties to be met with in the text of Ulysses, one is amazed at the "tour de force” Larbaud accomplished. How did he produce, unprepared as he was, and at such short notice, so clear, so condensed and so jolly an interpretation of Ulysses? Far be it from me to compete with such a master. My knowledge of English is

Already have an account? Log in

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.