Friday, 10 February 2012

James Joyce children's book sparks feud...

A children's story by James Joyce has been published for the first time by a small press in Dublin.

However the Zurich James Joyce Foundation has called its publication an "outrage", saying it had not granted permission for the book's release.

The Cats of Copenhagen was written in a letter to Joyce's grandson in 1936 as a "younger twin sister" to the already published story, The Cat and the Devil.

The story tells of a Copenhagen in which things are not what they seem.

Publisher Ithys Press says Joyce's works are now in the public domain.

The letter, in which the tale was found, was donated to the Zurich James Joyce Foundation by Hans Jahnke, the stepbrother to Joyce's grandson Stephen James Joyce.

'Legal and valid'

In a statement, the Foundation said it had "allowed serious bona fide scholars to inspect its documents", but was "never approached or informed" about the Ithys book.

"The Foundation is therefore all the more dismayed to learn that a copy of the letter to young Stephen Joyce of 1936 must have been used for its publication in book form," it said.

It added it "was left completely in the dark - it never permitted, tolerated, condoned or connived at this publication, and it rigidly dissociates itself from it".

In response, Anastasia Herbert of Ithys said: "The unpublished works of James Joyce are now (since 1 January 2012) in the public domain.

"A publication such as that of The Cats of Copenhagen is legal and valid and any attempt to interfere with its free dissemination is both unlawful and morally reprehensible."

She added the attempt by the Foundation "to assert some right on this now public-domain document is preposterous.

"The book was conceived not as a commercial venture but as a carefully crafted tribute to a rather different Joyce, the family man and grandfather who was a fine storyteller."

The Foundation's Fritz Senn told The Guardian that although Joyce's published works entered the public domain in Europe on 1 January, it had not yet been determined whether non-published material was also out of copyright as well.

Ithys has printed a limited run of 200 illustrated copies, ranging in price from €300 (£250) to €1,200 (£1,000).


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