chapter  158
1 Pages

Marcel Brion, Review in Les Nouvelles Litter Aires 1927

If James Joyce did not have any luck with the publishers of his own country, he had, at least, the good fortune to find in Paris the most fervent and enthusiastic of editors. Under the sign of Shakespeare and Company, the Joycien cult was born, for indeed this is a true cult, ardent, exclusive, not without fanaticism, which now is organized into a witty fraternity of close or distant friends of the great Irish writer. From this shop . . . comes forth . . . a small volume of poems, clad in a delicate green, Pomes Penyeach. If I translate the title as 'poems for a penny,' I have said nothing because I have not been able to express the deformation which Joyce imposes on the spelling of his title so as to indicate current pronunciation . . . To make a counter-balance to these [Joyce's] novels-but such a balance would be rather subtle to note-here are these twelve poems. But we know that with Joyce all is intentional, premeditated, allegorical and-in the noble sensecalculated. We know that these little poems represent a parallel existence to that of the novelist who never ceases to be a poet but who in the rigor which he imposes upon himself, and which those who understand his work-methods are not unaware of, accords himself no neglect [abandon) . . . Twelve poems spread out over twenty years of the life of this man who ought to have fifty; twelve exquisite hours, formed with an attentive tenderness, with a background, perhaps of delicate irony, but whose value and contrast I feel better when I read the excellent passages [from 'Work in Progress'] in transition . . . this Cyclopean work where all the battles of history pass in a whirlwind of images and ideas . . .