restricted access To the Editor of the New York Evening Post
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[ 179 To the Editor of the New York Evening Post New York Evening Post (11 Aug 1927) [26]1 [Dear Sir,] Owing to the generous activities of Miss Sylvia Beach and others, the affair of Mr. Samuel Roth and his serial publication of Ulysses has already received some publicity.2 But I feel such a matter can only be effectively dealt with if it is continually kept before the public eye; and I have just seen, by the courtesy of Mr. James Joyce, a copy of Mr. Roth’s Two Worlds Monthly dated May-June, 1927, which gives me every excuse for another protest. This number contains its usual installment of Ulysses and contains also a piece of verse of my own reprinted from The Criterion.3 It is unnecessary for me to say that this republication is quite unauthorized and that I have received from Mr. Roth no offer of payment or communication of any kind. This is all part of Mr. Roth’s game and calls for no special comment. But I should like the advantage of your columns, and that of any fair-minded American paper which is willing to print this letter , to protest most strongly against the effrontery of Mr. Roth’s dedication of this number of The Two Worlds Monthly to myself. If this is not adding insult to injury I do not know what is. Mr. Roth’s little epitaph runs as follows: “I dedicate this issue of Two Worlds Monthly to T. S. Eliot, who has given us some excellent verses, several sound critical formulae, and one of the most charming literary personalities of our time.” “Has given us” is a real stroke of humour; Mr. Roth chooses to interpret any gift to the world as a gift to himself. In the same manner4† Mr. Roth has a great deal to say for himself, and states that he offered Mr. Joyce a thousand dollars.5 I did not know this interesting fact, but I am certainly in a position to say that Mr. Roth has not offered me a penny. It would appear that the flow of money, if any is to flow, is to be in the opposite direction, for he devotes a page to an advertisement , one sentence of which runs as follows: 1927 180 ] “If you have money and wish to invest it in one of the most fascinating of civilized ventures write to Mr. Samuel Roth, care of Two Worlds Monthly.” [I am, Sir, Your obedient servant, T. S. Eliot]6† Notes 1. TSE sent this letter (with copies to the Dial and the Nation) on 26 July 1927 to complain about the unauthorized printing of “Eeldrop and Appleplex, A Fragment,” and two parts of Sweeney Agonistes in Samuel Roth’s Two Worlds Monthly, already notorious for pirating episodes of Joyce’s Ulysses. The editor sent TSE’s letter to Roth, requesting his side of the story. Roth obliged, with an offer to pay for TSE’s work, and both letters were printed, with salutations and signatures deleted, as part of an article by Robert W. Potter entitled “T. S. Eliot Reopens Roth ‘Piracy’ Row / Famous Poet Objects to Unauthorized Publication of his ‘Wanna Go Home, Baby?’ / Mr. Roth Makes Retort.” TSE wrote to his mother on 2 Sept about this episode as “an amusing fight with a man . . . who pirated one of my poems in a periodical of his. I wrote to the Evening Post about it, and they have given the matter two columns. What is amusing is that Mr. Sam Roth has since sent me a cheque for twenty-five dollars, as he says ‘in full Payment’ for the poem which he printed without permission; and I have sent this cheque to the Evening Post asking them to return it to Mr. Roth, saying that I do not accept any form of hush money and do not wish to have anything directly to do with Mr. Sam Roth” (L3 683). Roth reprinted TSE’s letter and his own, with commentary and reply, in Two Worlds Monthly, 3 (Oct 1927) 237-38, complaining: “Potter was all obeisance to Mr. Eliot and all insolence to me. He even misquoted my letter. I take this opportunity to publish both communications in their entirety.” The TSERoth -Potter exchange appeared with additions in transition, 9 (Dec 1927). See also L3 584-85. 2. Samuel Roth (1893-1974), American author and oft-prosecuted publisher of avant-garde and erotic literature, took...