Assessing the 1984 "Ulysses" is the proceedings volume from the First International Conference on Irish Studies at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco, held in 1985. This inaugural volume contains nineteen essays (some not read in session in their present form), all concerned with Hans Walter Gabler's 1984 Garland Press "definitive" edition of Ulysses. Although Gabler's achievements are not underestimated, the entire volume challenges the definitiveness of the edition, questions the rationale for editorial decisions, points to instances in which emendations have intruded fresh errors into the text, and concludes (in the words of Bernard Benstock) that "no such thing as a definitive text can exist. When Gabler restores phrases and passages . . . which never were part of any printed text that passed through Joyce's hands, he is providing us with marginalia rather than with entelechy, the form of forms." Clive Hart objects to the adoption of a conflational procedure, pointing out that "failure of coherence is most acute where the Garland text adopts readings from branching documents which never join the main line of textual descent." Incorporation of such variants do not illuminate the process of composition.
Not surprisingly Richard Ellmann objects to the restoration of deliberately cancelled passages, notably the love passage in the "Scylla and Charybdis" episode. He maintains that Joyce is "distinguished by what he withholds rather than what [End Page 723] he divulges," arguing emphatically that Joyce would have carefully scrutinized and omitted the passage in order to "improve the book." David Hayman points to a number of instances in which the Gabler edition clears up confusions, but he also directs attention to places that introduce new errors, to "irrational addition and deletion of commas," to "dubious changes [that] affect rhythm, consistency and/or sense," to "questionable changes in spelling not without support, but not necessarily to the advantage of the text," and to a large number of controvertible changes arising from authority problems. He suggests that the edition in its present form should serve as a "working document from which a better (if not a perfect or definitive) trade edition can be produced. Since so many of Gabler's decisions have, of necessity, been subjective and critical, we should not accept his text without serious question as the word of Joyce."
Ira Nadel finds that Gabler turns Ulysses into a palimpsest, observing that "by the textual acts of recision and recovery, [he] hopes to reclaim a work Joyce never totally wrote in a state of publication which the novel never achieved."
Sandulescu's dissatisfaction with the Garland edition is more basic. He finds the notion of a "diachronic" text indefensible and challenges its claim to be so, because its components are not arranged in a proper diachronic fashion. He proposes an alternative theoretical approach to a multitext, equivalent to Gabler's "continuous manuscript" theory, in which the components are arranged in proper diachronic fashion and all six textual operations that should be performed are carried out, indicated by separate symbols to avoid present ambiguities. Fritz Senn and Donald Verene each propose pragmatic compromises to these basic disagreements: because editorial decisions are based on evaluation and judgment, Senn recognizes the Garland edition for providing scope to consider variant readings using available evidence, whereas Verene observes that no Joyce reader would fail to profit from it, even though scholars will continue to differ over its relative merits.
An Anglo-Irish Glossary for Joyce's Works is a major contribution to basic Joyce scholarship, just when it might have been assumed that we had passed that stage with the Garland edition. Richard Wall explains the significance of his Glossary by establishing that Joyce used the Anglo-Irish dialect of...