restricted access A Work Whose Importance Still Escapes Us: Joyce After Surrealism

This essay studies the reminiscences on James Joyce published by the former surrealist writer and critic Philippe Soupault (1897–1990), who participated in the collaborative French translation of the "Anna Livia Plurabelle" chapter of Joyce's Work in Progress. It argues that Soupault's writings on Joyce constitute a theory of avant-garde productivity modeled less on the experimental quality of Joycean prose than on Joyce's work ethic. For Soupault, Joyce's "pitiless method" constituted a form of literary engagement that was at once bound to discipline and yet bore the potential for liberatory thought, in a manner Soupault likened to the work of the surrealist movement he helped found in the years after WWI.