> she and a colleague were dedicating a book to him, a 31,802-page tome called “The Manual for the Advanced Study of James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’”
Academic studies of the Wake leaves Ulysses scholarship for dead :)
New York Times Magazine author Jack Hitt simply made that up, as he seems to have done with several other things attributed to me by him. Or maybe he has an uncredited source that inspired him to romanticize my mundane drudgery as a tropical textologist and translator.
The term I prefer is "authoritative," which is not a claim of "error-free input," something Hans Walter Gabler wrote that had attained in his 1984 "Ulysses : A Critical and Synoptic Edition."
In 1986 the claim of non-erroneousness was repeated twice in a gushing review of Gabler written by Geert Lernout in the _Revue Belge de Philologie_, which ends with these words : << It seems that Joyce finally got the error-free text he waited for in vain during his life-time. >>
One nice symmetry of Then and Now is that Lernout became the first academic in Europe to assail me as having weird ideas about Joyce. Gabler's work is, we are told twice, "error-free," and Kidd, we are assured, is an eccentric crank who "has a whole series of pet theories . . ."
1986, 2018, Nothing new under the sun, Gabler-Kidd-wise and Kidd-Gabler-wise. Lernout literally declares, "Kidd is the kind of person who . . ." It does not get more ad hominem than that.
I would be interested to learn if anyone can find online any pre-2018 claim that I sought to produce the impossible "perfect edition" of any book. That false claim seems to have appeared first on the web on June 12, 2018. The online version of Jack Hitt's New York Times Magazine profile of me is called "The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar," but the paper publication with a cover date of June 17 is titled “In Search of the Perfect Ulysses.”
What is stranger or more eccentric than I myself supposedly am, is a journalist of such high intelligence as Jack Hitt attributing to me beliefs that he does not sustain by a single quotation from my published work, whether it be Joycean or Jungian, or a even poem out of my youth.
Come to think of it, Jack Hitt's beautifully written essay fails to give the title of any of my works. Those curious about what Hitt skimmed over without dipping his beak into the salt green sea, may consult an old CV of mine by Googling this phrase, enclosing it within quotation marks : "Curriculum Vitae of John Kidd"
Without disputing what you say, I am curious: do you speak as a scholar who knows this to be true, or a casual reader who assumes it to be true, or from some other basis?
That aside, I'm an avid casual Joyce fan - I've read the book several times outside of that class, both before and after.
Those qualifications aren't exactly impressive, but I think they're enough for me to entreat the prospective Ulysses reader - tolle lege! Pick it up and read!
Yes, absolutely. I didn't mean it as a challenge, just (as another eternally on the verge of reading Ulysses) was curious how definitively I could take your recommendation.
I fondly remember that preface years after I read it because Raine points to some of Gabler's completely minor amendations and says "I don't give a fupenny tuck", a delightful expression I wish was more current in English.
It's a fantastic place to find memorable phrases that make good passwords.
A text the size of "Ulysses" cannot, by definition, ever be "perfect". There will always be an opportunity for a vacuous hack to assemble a "catastrophic" collection of minor mistakes that allegedly compromise the edition. This is usually much easier than actually producing a new edition, by orders of magnitude so, and this is why we hate grammar Nazis: they derail the conversation and in the end contribute nothing of substance.
I know it's probably harsh, but every field has these guys, they should not be celebrated but marginalized. I find his ouster from academia not surprising. Kidd is obviously very competent but he chose to invest his vast knowledge and intellect into an ego match instead of contributing and expanding his field.