Thursday, January 3, 2008

Book of Irish writing modified after court battle with James Joyce Estate

Book of Irish writing modified after court battle with James Joyce Estate

(PRWEB) March 14, 2001

Dulles, VA--Even though James JoyceÂ’s Ulysses was published almost 80 years ago, it still provokes bitter controversy today.

The latest battle over JoyceÂ’s magnum opus comes to a close with the publication of IRISH WRITING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: A Reader, (Cork University Press, distributed by Stylus, $39.95, Cloth, 1400 pp.) edited by David Pierce. The anthology, the result of more than 30 years of research by Pierce, was originally slated for release in September 2000. Just days before its release, however, Cork University Press (CUP) was handed a restraining order from the Irish High Court, stopping its publication. After almost four months of court battles, the book is scheduled to released March 17, 2001.

IRISH WRITING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY was to include an extract from Ulysses. Because an EU directive protects an author’s copyright for 70 years after death, the copyright on Joyce's work continues until 2011. The Joyce estate, administered by the author’s grandson Stephen, asked for a £7,000 (Sterling; US $ 11,000) permission fee, which CUP refused to pay on the grounds that it would amount to a third of the permissions budget for the entire work, while only representing under 2% of the anthology. In turn, CUP offered to pay £2,500 (Sterling; US $4,000) plus 0.5% of royalties, which Stephen Joyce declined.

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CUP opted instead to extract from the Readers' Edition of Ulysses, edited by Danis Rose, itself the subject of litigation in the UK from the Joyce estate. The Joyce estate disputed the legality of including extracts from the Readers' Edition, and filed suit against Cork University Press. In the High Court, the estate suggested that CUP publish extracts from the original Ulysses, with the license fee to be determined by the court. However, the anthology would then have had to be reprinted at a cost of £92,000 (US $150,000), an offer that CUP dismissed as impractical.

The court upheld the restraining order, and IRISH WRITING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY was returned to the bindery to have the Joyce extracts removed. A signature of blank pages now fills the place of Ulysses, with the cryptic explanation that pages “have been removed due to a dispute in relation to copyright.” Turning to the Index or Table of Contents quickly reveals what has been cut. As CUP publisher Sara Wilbourne said "This is a very big book for us. There's simply too much at stake to let it go."

Organized chronologically by decade, IRISH WRITING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY provides the reader with a unique sense of the development and richness of the Irish writing and the society it reflected. It embraces all forms of writing: drama, fiction, verse, travel writing, personal memoirs, journalism, interviews, and radio plays, offering a complete and varied sense of IrelandÂ’s contributions to our literary heritage. It is also breaks new ground in including the works of the Irish Diaspora, with such Irish American notables as F. Scott Fitzgerald, John OÂ’Hara, J. P. Donleavy and Eugene OÂ’Neill.

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Review copies of IRISH WRITING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY are available. Please call Kristen Gustafson, 207/990-0710.