JOYCE, James Augustine Aloysius (1882-1941). Autograph letter signed ('Jim') to Stanislaus Joyce ('Dear Stannie'), 2 Square Robiac, 192 rue de Grenelle, Paris, [15 December 1926], 1 page, 4to, on paper with printed address. Provenance: formerly the property of Stanislaus Joyce, sale, Sotheby's London, 8 July 2004, lot 192.
ROTH'S PIRACY OF ULYSSES: 'THE AMERICAN PAPERS ... CONTINUE TO PRINT ROTH'S FULL PAGE ADVERTISEMENTS, KNOWING THEM TO BE A SWINDLE'. The American publisher Samuel Roth began his unauthorised serialisation of Ulysses in his magazine Two Worlds Monthly in July 1926 and it continued until October 1927, reprinting a total of 14 bowdlerised episodes in 12 instalments, which were subsequently issued in book form in two volumes (since Ulysses was banned in America, the author had no copyright protection). Joyce sought legal advice, but found it difficult: 'American lawyers refused to take up the case but at last I have got one who says he will try to stop the publisher by backstairs influence', adding that, although his publisher has sent letters and telegrams to American newspapers, they will not publish either the cables or the letters, but continue to publish Roth's advertisements -- 'He's pocketing at least 1,000,000 francs a month'. Eventually, Benjamin Conner commenced legal action through the firm of Chadbourne, Stanchfield, and Levy, but because the legal process was likely to be slow, Joyce decided to supplement it with a public protest -- the Protest Against Samuel Roth's Piracy of Ulysses, drawn up by Ludwig Lewisohn and Archibald MacLeish, signed by 167 writers and intellectuals worldwide, and issued to the press on 2 February 1927. The legal threats began to take effect in late 1927 (the last episode of Ulysses was published in October of that year), and on 27 December 1928 Justice Richard H. Mitchell enjoined Roth not to use Joyce's name in any way (nonetheless, Roth then went on to publish a piracy of Ulysses under the fictitious imprint 'Shakespeare and Company ... Paris 1927' in 1929).
The letter also conveys a notary's legal advice to Joyce to Stanislaus, presumably referring to the legal consequences of the suicide of their brother-in-law Frantisek Schaurek the previous month. Schaurek, the Prokurist at the Czech Zivnostenska Banka, had married Eileen Joyce on 12 April 1915, with Joyce as the best man. Unfortunately, the Schaureks' financial situation had become very difficult (as Joyce discovered when Eileen wrote to him from Dublin with an urgent request for financial assistance), and these financial concerns had caused Frantisek to shoot himself. Joyce had not been able to bring himself to break the shocking news to Eileen when she stayed with him in Paris whilst en route to Trieste, and the sad task of telling her fell to Stanislaus, when he met her in Trieste. The letter ends with Joyce wishing Stanislaus 'many happier returns' for his birthday on 17 December, and sending his regards to Eileen and her children. The letter is published from a typescript copy (with some minor errors) in the Letters, ed. S. Gilbert and R. Ellmann, London: 1957-1966, III, p. 148.