FINN’S HOTEL is a pithy, serio-comic collection of ‘little epics’ that James Joyce wrote in 1923. Its existence and significance were discovered some decades ago … and its publication thwarted for twenty years. Ithys Press is delighted to bring to light at long last this lost link in the Joyce canon, published in June, 2013.
The First Edition
This first edition of FINN’S HOTEL by James Joyce, edited, arranged and with a preface by Danis Rose, introduced by Seamus Deane, with eleven illustrations by Casey Sorrow, has been designed and printed letterpress by Michael Caine for Ithys Press, Dublin. The Preface and Joyce’s text have been handset by Caine in Van Dijk, Kis-Janson and various early 20th Century typefaces and the Introduction has been set by Phil Abel in Monotype Univers. This edition is limited to 180 copies : of 40 head copies on Zerkall mouldmade, 10 signed deluxe copies I-X are housed in bespoke bindings featuring the handmarbling of Antonio Vélez Celemín of Madrid, and 26 copies lettered A-Z and 4 copies Hors Commerce are issued in paper wrappers within clamshell boxes ; 140 numbered copies on Fedrigoni Vellum are presented in Elisabeth Hyder’s printed paper over boards. The edition has been handbound by Tom Duffy in Dublin’s 5 Lamps.
Last Copies: Deluxe €3,000 / Lettered €800. Low stock: Numbered €350.
For orders and enquiries, please email: Ithys Press
Compare the three issues of the first edition: the details are described here.
About Finn’s Hotel
Finn’s Hotel comprises ten beautifully written ‘epiclets’, as Joyce himself called them: ten ‘little epics’. Some are very little, like vignettes or sketches; others are substantial, akin to short stories or fables. All of them are concise and concentrated pieces of prose fiction centering on epoch-making Irish historic / mythic moments, spanning some 1,500 years, and pivoting on the year 1132 AD. Each epiclet is a narrative tableau in which some of Joyce’s heroes and heroines make their debut: many characers among this eclectic cast later reappear, in various guises, in Finnegans Wake but in Finn’s Hotel they are portrayed in their unvarnished, original incarnation.
Joyce wrote these pieces in 1923, some six months after his disengagement from writing his encyclopaedic Ulysses and well before he had as yet conceived of the plot, structure, or sheer immensity of his epic Finnegans Wake. Engrossing in themselves, these boldly inventive, yet highly readable prose-portraits (three of which only came to light in 2004) also provide an ideal entrée to the Wake, a book that vies with the Book of Kells as the most supremely Irish thing we have.
The prose pieces of Finn’s Hotel—a place where people come and go—are written in a unique diversity of styles, much more so than Ulysses. Taken together, they form the true and hitherto unknown precursor to the multi-modulated voices of the Wake—but these first utterings from Finn’s Hotel are far easier to understand. Joyce composed the ‘epiclets’ one by one, first-drafting and fair-copying them, before having (some of) them typed out. He then laid them aside, leaving Finn’s Hotel forever unfinished, and they remained all but forgotten for sixteen years; all, that is, save one, the ‘Pop’ piece (‘Here Comes Everybody’) that pre-occupied him. He saw in it, on reflection, an opening: a line of literary development that he could follow and expand in Finnegans Wake: the story of a ‘man mountain’, H.C. Earwicker. Thus, in one room of Finn’s Hotel sat the egg from which Finnegans Wake hatched.
With this landmark publication—almost certainly the last unpublished title by James Joyce—another piece of the complex jigsaw of modern Irish literature comes into view, providing a clearer picture of the creative breadth and depth of one of the world’s preeminent writers.
For more about Finn’s Hotel, read excerpts from Danis Rose’s Preface & Seamus Deane’s Introduction to the first edition.
First Edition Gallery
(photography by David Monahan)
About the Editor, Contributors, Artists
DANIS ROSE of Dublin, Ireland, is among the most distinguished textual scholars of James Joyce’s works. He is co-editor with John O’Hanlon of the critically-established restored editions of Finnegans Wake and the forthcoming 1922 Ulysses. His publications include Ulysses: A New Reader’s Edition; The Textual Diaries of James Joyce; Understanding Finnegans Wake; and The James Joyce Archive: Vols. 28-63. He is currently completing a critical biography entitled James Joyce: The Cost of Fame. He is also co-author, with O’Hanlon, of Love & Curiosity: the Cosmos.
SEAMUS DEANE, the late poet, novelist, and Professor of English and Irish Studies at University of Notre Dame, was a member of Aosdána and of the Royal Irish Academy, a founding director of the Field Day Theatre Company, and General Editor of the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing and the Penguin Joyce. He authored of several books of poetry, the acclaimed novel Reading in the Dark, and very many studies in literary criticism. He was born in Derry, educated at Queen’s College and Cambridge University, and settled in Dublin.
MICHAEL CAINE is a book artist: printmaker, typographer, and letterpress printer. Under a variety of pseudonyms he has designed, illustrated and produced over 50 livres d’artiste, including works by Beckett, Crevel, Lorca, Neruda, Pound, and two works by Joyce (The Cats of Copenhagen and Finn’s Hotel). Based in Paris since 1990, he has created, set and handprinted over 130 commissioned works for the ‘crème de la crème’ of the European bibliophile circle, film directors, and restaurateurs.
CASEY SORROW is an American artist, cartoonist, illustrator and printmaker. His illustrations for Joyce’s The Cats of Copenhagen (Ithys Press, 2012) have appeared in editions around the globe and his comics are published in newspapers and across the web. He has a BFA in studio art and BA in English & film studies from Michigan State University and lives in Lansing, the heart of America’s ‘High Five’.
TOM DUFFY of Dublin carries on a four-generation bookbinding tradition whose commissioned work has encompassed many artist’s books, finepress editions, and presentation bindings gifted to popes and to queens.
ANTONIO VÉLEZ CELEMÍN of Madrid, Spain is an artist and teacher who understands marbling as a technique akin to painting and engraving. For this edition he has interwoven ancient Japanese and classic Western methods.
ELISABETH HYDER is a Swiss-born artisan based in Brookfield, Massachusetts, where she makes pastepapers and designs unique patterns for printing with hand-mixed inks on letterpress.
4 thoughts on “FINN’S HOTEL by James Joyce”
grande immaginifico j. joyce!
Stunning work; enlivening and inspiring. Thank you for the wonderful photos and descriptions.