I’m in the middle of reading an interesting profile in The New Yorker. It’s concerned with Stephen James Joyce (he always insists, apparently, that his middle name be included), and his manic protectionism of the Joyce literary estate:
More than a dozen Joyce scholars told me that what was once an area of exploration and discovery now resembles an embattled outpost of copyright law. Robert Spoo, who used to edit the James Joyce Quarterly, which is published by the University of Tulsa, quit the job to become a copyright lawyer. Ã¢â‚¬Å“New biographies, digital representations of JoyceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work, analyses of JoyceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s manuscripts, and, to a lesser extent, criticismÃ¢â‚¬â€they hardly exist,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“People either despaired of doing them . . . or the demands were so high that they just didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel it was worth continuing the discussions.Ã¢â‚¬Â
That’s kind of tragic. Not end of the world tragic, because literary analysis isn’t likely to feature in armageddon, but it’s still pretty wrong. The Beckett estate is also notoriously protective of Sam’s legacy. Is it something do with being Irish?