Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 85

the work as a
divertissement philologique
and of no great impor–
tance in Joyce's creative evolution. H. G. Wells wrote him that he
still had a number of books to write and could not give the time to
attempt to decipher Joyce's experiment. Ezra Pound attacked it in
a letter and urged him to put it in the "family album," together
with his poems. Only Edmund Wilson was intelligently sympa–
thetic. After a while the reactions became more and more vehement,
even personal, and on the whole journalistically stereotyped. Joyce
continued working at his vision.
We saw a good deal of him during those years. Our office was
not very far from his home, near the Eiffel Tower, and his urbane
presence amid the disorder of our primitive hotel-room was always
a welcome one. All his friends collaborated then in the prepara–
tions of the fragments destined for
Stuart Gilbert,
Padraic Colum, Elliot Paul, Robert Sage, Helen and Giorgio Joyce,
and others. He worked with painstaking care, almost with ped–
antry. He had invented an intricate system of symbols permitting
him to pick out the new words and paragraphs he had been writing
down for years, and which referred to the multiple characters in
his creation. He would work for weeks, often late at night, with
the help of one or the other of his friends. It seemed almost a col–
lective composition in the end, for he let his friends participate in
his inventive zeal, as they searched through numberless notebooks
mysterious reference points to be inserted in the text. When
finished, the proof looked as if a coal-heaver's sooty hands had
touched it. Once t.he work was done, we would dine with him at
his favorite restaurant, the
where he liked the atmosphere
cuisine, and where he was sure to find his dry, golden
or, if the evening grew more hilarious than usual, an excellent
Pommery champagne. His nearly
conversations never
had any nuance of scatology, and whenever one of the mvre Rabe–
laisian of his companions would indulge
some too robust
he would deftly, almost impatiently, lead the dialogue
into other channels. Sometimes he would bring with him a page
had written and hand it around the table with a gesture of polite
modesty. He never explained his work, save through indirection.
At that time Joyce's family life was closely knit and 1-.appy,
his humor was a natural manifestation of this ambience. It
did not yet have that mordant quality which it acquired in later
after great sorrow had entered his home circle. And yet,
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