First German edition. With the author’s signed presentation inscription, “To Scofield Thayer with grateful regards James Joyce Zurich Switzerland 8.ix.919”. Published in Switzerland at Joyce’s own expense in an edition of 600 copies; the first of any of Joyce’s works to be translated. A presentation copy, inscribed on the first leaf: To Scofield Thayer with grateful regards James Joyce Zurich Switzerland 8.ix.919. The “grateful regards” are for a $700 gift Thayer made earlier in the year to the Joyces. Thayer, the wealthy co-founding editor of the third and final incarnation of the Dial, was one of Joyce’s most ardent supporters during the 1921 New York censorship trial over the serialization of Ulysses in the Little Review, during which he took the witness stand as a supporter. The translation into German is by Hannah von Mettal. Slocum and Cahoon D44. Ezra Pound offered what is perhaps the most illuminating assessment of Exiles, Joyce’s only play. After reading the manuscript in September 1915, he wrote to Joyce: I have just finished the play. Having begun it (cliché) I could not (cliché) leave off until (cliché). Yes, it is interesting. It won’t do for the stage. (No, it is unsuitable for the “Abbey,” as mebbe ye might kno’aw fer yourself, Mr J’ice). It is exciting. But even read it takes very close concentration of attention. I don’t believe an audience could follow it or take it in, even if some damd impracticable manager were to stage it. Not that I believe any manager would stage it in our chaste and castrated english speaking world. Roughly speaking, it takes about all the brains I’ve got to take in the thing, reading, and I suppose I’ve more intelligence than the normal theatre goer (god save us). I may be wrong, the actual people moving on stage might underline and emphasise the meaning and the changes of mood… Of course your play is emotional. It works up quite a whirl of emotion, and it has, undoubtedly, form. I don’t think it is nearly as intense as “The Portrait,” at least I don’t feel it as much. My resultant impression is one of a tired head… It will form an interesting 1/4 volume when you bring out your collected works. When you are a recognized classic people will read it because you wrote it and be duly interested and duly instructed, but until then I’m hang’d if I see what’s to be done with it (Pound/Joyce pp.45-7). Nevertheless, Pound promised “I will see that your play is read by the agent of one very practical American dramatic company, which does big business,” and he convinced John Quinn to contact a New York theatrical agent whose name, to Joyce’s delight, was L. Bloom (Carpenter p.278). After the publication of Exiles, Pound reviewed it for The Future: “Exiles,” by James Joyce, is a play perhaps unstageable, but infinitely more worth staging than the inanities which the once active Stage Society now indulges in. We find the most brilliant of our novelists here trying the inferior form… As chamber drama, Mr. Joyce writes with all the talent he had as a novelist. He adds a sense of possible stage comedy in a scene furnished with a perfume sprayer… (The Future, November 1918, p.287). Exiles opened in New York on February 19, 1925 and ran for forty-one performances.
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Octavo. Original green wrappers printed in blue. Housed in a black morocco backed slipcase. Unopened; errata slip tipped in, lightly discolored at edges.