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

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