FIRST EDITION OF JOYCE'S ONLY PLAY TO INCLUDE HIS PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED NOTES
JOYCE, James. Exiles. New York: Viking, 1951. Large octavo, original half beige cloth, pictorial endpapers, original dust jacket. $450.
First edition to feature Joyce's previously unpublished notes, with a new introduction by Padraic Colum, one of 1900 copies printed.
Exiles remains Joyce's only play, based on "The Dead" from Dubliners. Originally rejected by Yeats for production at the Abbey Theatre, its first major London performance was delayed until 1970 when Harold Pinter recognized the work's importance. While Joyce's play was originally published in 1918, this 1951 edition is the first to feature his valuable notes. In a 1917 letter to John Quinn, Joyce stated that he "began to write Exiles in the spring of 1914 on notes" (Slocum & Cahoon A14). Here, in 15 pages of author's notes drawn from Joyce's own notebook, Joyce sets out the structure and major plot points of the play as well as explaining his thought processes and the motivations behind his authorial choices. During this pre-draft stage, Joyce cites other authors, grapples with character psychology, and even explains the meaning of the work's title. Also present is an introduction by Padraic Colum, a central figure in the Irish Literary Revival, offering a defense of the play and attempting to explain its poor critical reception. One of 1900 copies, of which 75 were reserved for private distribution (no distinguishable differences between the withheld copies and the whole edition). Slocum & Cahoon A16.
Book very nearly fine, price-clipped dust jacket with a few faint stains, mild toning, and only light wear to extremities. A near-fine copy.