Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress (Finnegans Wake) 1st edition (with Beckett’s first appearance in print)
Paris: Sylvia Beach Shakespeare and Company, 1929. 8vo bound in publisher’s tan wrappers. (2), 194 pp. This copy has been preserved, better than most copies, in a simple private plastic jacket- Only front cover has some tears and small pieces missing at front right, with lower right corner a piece missing – please see attached photos. Inside clean throughout and in all a very good copy indeed of this super fragile publication
First edition published by Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company of Paris in 1929, one of the copies in the small first trade printing bearing the un-numbered limitation page stating that 96 numbered copies have been printed on Verge D’Arches paper
Collection of critical essays, and two letters, on the subject of James Joyce’s book Finnegans Wake, then being published in discrete sections under the title Work in Progress. All the essays are by writers who knew Joyce personally and who followed the book through its development: Samuel Beckett ( his first appearance in print “”Dante… Bruno. Vico.. Joyce”)) Marcel Brion, Frank Budgen, Stuart Gilbert, Eugene Jolas, Victor Llona, Robert McAlmon, Thomas McGreevy, Elliot Paul, John Rodker, Robert Sage and William Carlos Williams. Two of the letters included were long believed to have been written by James Joyce himself. Two “letters of protest” are also included in the Exagmination, from G.V.L. Slingsby (“Writes a Common Reader”) and Vladimir Dixon (“A Litter to James Joyce”). “G.V.L. Slingsby” was the pseudonym of a woman journalist who complained about the difficulty of Work in Progress to Sylvia Beach, the publisher of Joyce’s Ulysses. Since Joyce wanted the collection to contain negative criticism as well as positive, Beach invited the woman to write a pseudonymous article in dispraise of Joyce’s new work. The journalist complied, choosing her pseudonym from Edward Lear’s The Story of the Four Little Children Who Went Round the World. Stuart Gilbert and Sylvia Beach believed that Joyce wrote the second letter of protest himself, as it is addressed to “Mr. Germs Choice” and “Shame’s Voice” alternately (two puns on Joyce’s name), and the letter itself is written in a pastiche of the punning style that Joyce was then using in his published work. Their assumption, however, was challenged and proven false by the discovery in the late 1970s of a number of books and letters authored by the historical Vladimir Dixon, a minor poet of Russian verse living in France during the 1920s.