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Essay on the Situation of Joyce
Edited, introduced and commented by Gaston Mannes

2022, 290 S., Hardcover
ISBN: 978-3-487-16172-3
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Armand Petitjean (1913–2003), the author of this unpublished essay, was an intellectual and critic whose work has not yet received full recognition for its depth and significance. Between 1933 and 1935 Petitjean produced a typescript in English called Essay on the Situation of Joyce, which Joyce himself described as “an amazing study of W[ork]. I[n]. P[rogress]”. Petitjean frequented James Joyce in Paris and played a rather important role in the latter’s life until Joyce’s death in 1941.

This edition contains an introduction which outlines the genesis of the Essay and the connected dealings of its author with important figures from the French literary scene of the 1930s. Along with other sources, this section relies upon numerous unpublished letters from Petitjean and Joyce’s international milieu. It describes how the essay fits into its contemporary literary context and highlights the significance of the text in the reception of Joyce.

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The existence of Armand Petitjean’s Essay on the Situation of Joyce was known to the author’s closest circle, but it has remained unpublished to this day, to the regret of Joyceans. The publication of this text from the beginning of the 1930s provides us with essential information on the genesis of Work in Progress / Finnegans Wake and on the Joycean community in Paris.

A historical overview, analysis, commentary and annotations make up the rest of this volume, which presents unpublished material such as letters from Sylvia Beach, T. S. Eliot, Richard Ellmann, Valery Larbaud, Charles Du Bos, Jean Ballard, Auguste Bréal, Maria Jolas, Stéphanie Chandler, Aline Mayrisch-de Saint Hubert, Victoria Ocampo, Louis Gillet, Georges Pelorson, Emeric Fiser, Jean Gosset, Ettore Settanni and Armand Petitjean himself, as well as extracts from his unpublished autobiography.

***

Die Existenz von Armand Petitjeans Essay on the Situation of Joyce war dem engsten Kreis des Autors bekannt, zum Bedauern der Joyceaner ist er jedoch bis heute unveröffentlicht geblieben. Die Edition dieses Textes vom Beginn der 1930er Jahre liefert uns wesentliche Informationen über die Entstehung von Work in Progress / Finnegans Wake und über die Joyce-Gemeinschaft in Paris.

Ein historischer Überblick, gepaart mit einer Analyse, einem Kommentar und Anmerkungen, bildet den Rest dieses Bandes, der unveröffentlichtes Material enthält, darunter Briefe von Sylvia Beach, T. S. Eliot, Richard Ellmann, Valery Larbaud, Charles Du Bos, Jean Ballard, Auguste Bréal, Maria Jolas, Stéphanie Chandler, Aline Mayrisch-de Saint Hubert, Victoria Ocampo, Louis Gillet, Georges Pelorson, Emeric Fiser, Jean Gosset, Ettore Settanni und Armand Petitjean selbst, sowie Auszüge aus seiner unveröffentlichten Autobiographie.

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Armand Petitjean (1913–2003)

Precocious and prolific intellectual, “Philosophy’s Rimbaud” (Bachelard), friend of Lacan, secretary at and contributor to La Nouvelle Revue Française, writer, essayist, critic and literary reviewer, journalist, publicist, author of philosophical works (Imagination et Réalisation, 1936; Le Moderne et son prochain, 1938), translator (Ernst Jünger, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, John Crowe Ransom), delegate to the Secretariat of Youth (a secretariat attached to the Ministry of Propaganda in Vichy), infantryman in the French army, director of the Lancôme company (created by his father), director of the Écologie collection in the Fayard publishing house, co-founder of the movement Ecoropa (European Network for Ecological Reflection and Action).



Gaston Mannes (1947)

Professor of German literature, scholar attached to the Centre national de littérature (Luxembourg), librarian to the Court of the Grand-Duke of Luxembourg, curator of exhibitions, author of works of science, history and fiction.
He is curator of the exhibition James Joyce in Luxembourg (2022) at the National Library of Luxembourg.