21 July 2014

James Joyce's letter from The Hague to Sylvia Beach

27 May 1927               Grand Hotel Restaurant Victoria, La Haye

Dear Miss Beach, [1]
Silvia Beach & James Joyce
I return you herewith posthaste the pomes in their proper order with correct dates and text and an addition to face p 2 and if you fill in the titlepage it is all right but I should like to check a final proof in bound proof. Has my brother not sent  on the rest of the MMS yet? [2] I am sorry I could not hear you.[3] There is a station (on 1950) at Scheveningen but it seems in this season only for transmitting. There is scarcely a soul there on account of the cold spell so we stay in the town and tram it out: it is only about 10 minutes. Here it is very quiet and dear but the people are very civil and obliging and not rapacious really. It is the exchange and the small things do not hit them at all though to us they seem terribly dear. The strand is wild and endless. Unfortunately I had a dreadful time with a savage dog on Wednesday 25 inst. My wife and Lucia had gone for tea and I walked on a mile or so and lay down on my overcoat reading the baedeker and trying to make out the coastline when a brute rushed from Lord knows where at me. I beat him off a few times. His owner ran up and his mistress and they got him down but he slunk round when their back was turned and attacked me again in the same way fully four times. It lasted I am sure a quarter of an hour. In my alarm my glasses got knocked and one of the lenses flew away in the sand. When Madame or whatever she was finally lugged the animal away growling the owner and I went down on her knees and after groping for a long time found the lens. I feel so helpless with those detestable animals. Revolver? I suppose he would have me before I made up my mind to fire. Or carry stones in my pocket? If I could do the trick of gentleman into fox [4] I could save my brush better.
Scheveningen strand
  Thank Mrs. Antheil for the words. [5] I shall use some of them. As regards the rest I will explain to her in Paris. I hope Ulysses IX [6] will soon ascend the papal throne. His motto is to be: Triste canis vulpibus =This 'ere dog will worry them there foxyboys. With kindest regards sincerely yours

James Joyce


  1 Transcription corrected with the assistance of Melissa W. Banta
  2 Joyce sent to Stanislaus Joyce for a number of his manuscripts; he wished to present the manuscript of Dublinners and that of Stephen Hero to Miss Beach.
  3 Miss Beach spoke on the French radio about the publication of Ulysses in Paris.
  4 An allusion to Lady into Fox (London, 1922), a novel of David Garnett (b.1892), the English writer.
  5 Presumably Russian words (since Mrs Antheil was from Russia), to be worked into Finnegans Wake.
  6 The ninth printing of Ulysses was issued this month.

From ''Selected Letters of James Joyce'', edited by Richard Ellmann, The Viking Press.NewYork, second printing May 1976.