For those of you who are joining us tomorrow evening on our tour of two Shakespeare & Companys, you may enjoy reading a few excerpts from Sylvia Beach’s recently collected letters, edited by Keri Walsh and published by Columbia University Press:
To Marion Peter
May 23, 1921
… My shop is a great success and self supporting and all that sort of thing and just think I am publishing a book now. Ulysses by James Joyce, the greatest book and author of the age. . . . ! You probably saw in the papers the uproar caused by the trial of the Editors of the Little Review for printing some of Ulysses in it, and how they were fined $100 and their thumb prints taken. Nine stenographers gave up the typing of the last episode here in Paris and a gentleman from the British Embassy burned a dozen pages . . . he threw ’em into the fire in a rage. Ulysses is a masterpiece and one day it will be ranked among the classics in English literature. Joyce is in Paris and I told him I would publish his book, after the publisher in New York threw up the job in a fright.
Excuse such a long letter Marion, and write me one day soon wont you?!
Much love from
July 12, 1926
Miss Marianne Moore
Editor, The Dial
152 West 13th Street,
Dear Miss Moore,
Mr Joyce is writing a new book, installments of which have appeared in some of the reviews. He has just finished another section of it and has left it with me to dispose of as I have charge of such matters for him. It consists of four consecutive parts and there are from 30000 to 34000 words in all, 115 pages of typescript, commercial size. A certain review has made Mr Joyce an offer for it but I do not think it is a suitable place for his work nor the price offered sufficient for a thing that has taken him so long to write and is the finest piece of writing he has done. I should be very glad to give it to you for The Dial if The Dial would care to have it. Your review occupies the highest place among reviewers and is the most appropriate one to bring out Mr Joyce’s work. What would you offer for the exclusive rights in America and Europe to publish this section?
I hope that your work on The Dial leaves you time for your poetry of which I am a great admirer. Are you bringing out another volume soon?
To Ernest Hemingway
October 8, 1929
Joyce would telephone to you if you had one. He asked me to ask you and Pauline to go to their house this evening at about nine. He hopes you will excuse the invitation coming at the last minute, but the party is quite impromptu. They only just now decided to have you. He hopes you are free.
(Please excuse scrawl)
More from the letters here.
Interview with Keri Walsh, Sylvia Whitman, and yours truly, here.