Editing Ulysses : A Chronology of what came to be known as the Joyce Wars [ For a sketch of the publishing history of Ulysses before the so-called Corrected Text of 1984/86, look HERE ] If a link is not yet underlined, it remains to be completed. Come back later.

Independent scholar and occasional university lecturer, Dr Jack Dalton publishes a paper on the "The Text of Ulysses" which shows that the versions being used in classrooms worldwide were corrupted with laughable errors such as "beard" for "bread" and so on. Dalton will soon be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a contract with Random House to put things straight. He begins working with the original manuscripts and earliest editions.

1975. The Rosenbach Library in Philadelphia publishes a photographic facsimile of the most important Ulysses manuscript. In their introductory essays, curator Clive Driver and Harvard professor Harry Levin discuss discrepancies between the Rosenbach Manuscript and the 1922 first edition. Some passages they highlight in 1975 will later be claimed as "discoveries" by or on behalf of others who had no hand in this key publication. Joyceans celebrate that they will be able to undertake "manuscript" study with this facsimile, but will later rue the day that they neglected closer study of the original in Philadelphia. Details HERE.

Also in 1975. A group of Joycean professors form a project to rival Jack Dalton's. Although Dalton delivers a completed edition to Random House editor Albert Erskine, it is mysteriously set aside. Dalton's rivals will later claim that he never produced that edition in order to advance their own projects and fledgling careers.  
1977. With a grant from the German government, an untenured "scholarly assistant" equal to the rank of lecturer in England and Ireland will begin to edit Ulysses at the University of Munich. His permanent staff consists mostly of undergraduate students, also German. Soon this youthful group is being promoted as "an international team of scholars led by "Professor" Hans Walter Gabler. For five years this group publishes no peer-reviewed papers explaining what their text will look like, though claims are circulating that Gabler has discovered 8,000 "errors" in Ulysses. Needing to secure tenure by publishing something substantial, Gabler eventually eliminates from co-editorship the American partners who helped him displace rival Jack Dalton.

April 1980. The cover of Harper's magazine hails "The Computerized Ulysses." This article is by Buckminster Fuller fan Hugh Kenner, who had compared Joyce's brain to the ENIAC computer as early as 1954. Virtually all discussion from 1980 onward is derived from Kenner's article, not from the unseen edition. Kenner praises Jack Dalton's early digging. Oddly enough, nearly all the examples of "restorations" attributed to Gabler are in fact taken from Dalton's 1967 article. Gabler had published little for Kenner, or anyone, to draw on.

End of 1980. The unexpected death of Jack Dalton drapes a mystery over why, how, and by whom his Ulysses edition was blocked. A long file box with all of Dalton's editorial corrections for Ulysses is shipped to Munich. An additional file listing thousands of other textual variants that Dalton gathered and used to guide his decisions comes, too. Dalton's years of labor and his fulfilment of the contract with Random House pass unrecognized. Gabler never writes a paper about these sources, just a short sentence in his edition, mentioning the materials compiled by Dalton. This failure to fully acknowledge his debts will return to haunt Gabler eight years later when another of his sources, one still living, hints at plagiarism.

June 16, 1982. The gee-whizzedly efficient "Computerized Ulysses" promised for publication at the Dublin Centenary of Joyce's birth is not ready. Gabler attends academic sessions about Ulysses, but presents no papers, no workshops. The German editor attends a presentation by an unknown graduate student from California. That paper is summarized in Newsweek magazine's Joyce Centenary coverage, but since the speaker is no one important, his name is unmentioned. With Jack Dalton dead and Hans Walter Gabler refusing to reveal what shape his edition will take, it fell to a twenty-something graduate student, John Kidd, to present the only arguments about editing Ulysses at the largest Joyce symposium ever held. Kidd met Irish Senator David Norris and novelist Anthony Burgess who would three years later retract their enthusiastic early support for Gabler and rally around Kidd.

June 16, 1984. Ulysses: A Critical and Synoptic Edition is published by Garland, a commercial publisher in New York. Most scholarly editions published in America come from university presses which require outside peer review. On the contrary, Gabler's Ulysses was not seen by a single scholar not appointed by the Joyce Estate itself. Nor was it submitted for vetting by the Center for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association, though Gabler claimed he was following their procedures. The third strategy to insure that no academic criticism attend its launch was that a week earlier, with no copies for sale and no copies for review, the front page of the New York Times announced, "New Edition Fixes 5,000 Errors in Ulysses." Hundreds of Joyce scholars were assembled in Frankfurt, Germany, where a copy of the new Ulysses was presented to Joyce's grandson. The university bookstore offered scores of Joycean books -- everything but Gabler's Ulysses.

1984-1985. The most prominent reviews of the new Ulysses are written by its collaborators, including advisers named on the title-page.

July 1984. _____________. To promote Gabler's Ulysses in the Times Literary Supplement, Hugh Kenner repeats his 1980 method for writing "The Computerized Ulysses." Besides again attributing to Gabler the same findings drawn from Dalton's paper for his Harper's article, Kenner returns to that short paper's footnotes for even more examples of how Ulysses might be fixed. Even the editor of theTLS assumes that all these fine corrections were discovered by Hans Walter Gabler, and that Hugh Kenner is approaching Gabler's Ulysses for the first time, finding gem after gem. (But see below, April 26, 1985.)

January 1985. An effusive promotion by Michael Groden in the James Joyce Quarterly marks a rare breach of scholarly decorum. In academic journals, works are never reviewed by someone from inside the  project. In this non-review review, despite many years collaborating with Gabler, Groden follows Kenner's lead and takes his prime examples of improvements to Ulysses not from Gabler's own writings, but from Jack Dalton's 1967 essay. In selecting ten passages where Gabler has supposedly for the first time ever given the correct wording, Groden neglects to notice that for six of these -- the majority -- the 1922 Ulysses did not have the error, and thus is not being "corrected." Like Kenner, Groden is mining not Gabler, but Dalton -- who almost twenty years earlier was blasting the 1961 Random House edition, not the 1922 version. [For a James Joyce Quarterly attempt to explain away their ethical lapse, see HERE.]

March 1985. David Remnick of the Washington Post calls John Kidd to ask about rumors that there may be errors in the universally acclaimed new Ulysses. Kidd says he cannot release his paper and cannot give an interview. Journalists, he says, should wait until the New York conference and not start bandying accusations without the supporting documents. Such media embargoes are standard in many academic fields, but Kidd cannot dissuade Remnick. A few days later he calls back to report the Joyce "Establishment" was saying that Kidd was delusional, mentally ill. Kidd relents, gives an interview in Charlottesville, but the standard embargo on his paper still holds. Even younger than Kidd, even more resourceful, Remnick comes up with "Jolting the Joyceans: Young Scholar John Kidd Takes on the Establishment," titled in the national edition as "The War Over 'Ulysses'" for April 2, 1985. The now entrenched metaphor of academic warfare over Ulysses was coined by the future Pulitzer prize winner, author of Lenin's Tomb.  HERE.

April 26, 1985. John Kidd reads "Errors of Execution in the 1984 Ulysses," at the Society for Textual Scholarship in New York City. Jeremy Treglown, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, travelled from London to hear Kidd after discovering on his own that Hugh Kenner had endorsed the Gabler edition in Harper's magazine and failed to recuse himself from reviewing that same work in the TLS. Hans Walter Gabler and Michael Groden were present, and editor Jeremy Treglown confronts Gabler about a correction touted by Kenner in the TLS. What Kenner claimed was Gabler providing for the first time in any edition is  shown in Kidd's paper not to be correct at all, and to involve the willful suppression -- omission from even Gabler's footnotes -- of Joyce's explicit instructions to his printer. Gabler and Groden claim that they "forgot" to check the published document Kidd was citing before coming to New York to dispute his paper, which they had weeks in advance. (And Groden himself edited the volume in which that document was first published!) Treglown returns to London and writes a rare TLS editorial urging the Joyce Estate and Penguin Books to delay reprinting the Gabler text until further investigation. Future Pulitzer prize winner Isabel Wilkerson filed this report with the New York Times: HERE. John Kidd's original paper and his memoir of the "Context of the First Salvo in the Joyce Wars' are HERE.


October 1985. Kidd publishes, in the Irish Literary Supplement, the first detailed examination of Gabler's use of facsimiles instead of original manuscripts as "Gaelic in the New Ulysses." Since Gabler knew no Irish Gaelic (nor Scots Gaelic), and sought no help, phrases that Joyce had accented perfectly in a draft orin an early magazine printing went wrong all over again. The Gabler-described "totality" of the "synoptic apparatus" and its "error-free input" was neither total, synoptic, or error-free: the correct accents in Joyce's own hand, were listed nowhere in the $200 edition. The Supplement editor, Robert Lowery, in an editorial declares Gabler's text "The Spruce Goose of Academia' -- an expensive monstrosity that will fly once around the bay before being put into permanent storage. Apparently none of his friends or advisers had double-checked what Gabler put into the computer. Kidd had discovered a new relevance for the acronym from the early days of computing,  G.I.G.O. -- Garbage In, Garbage Out. Now it was Gabler In, Gabler Out. And Joyce was often out of the loop.

June 16, 1986.  Ulysses: The Corrected Text appears and all other versions of the novel are withdrawn by Joyce's three publishers. The Corrected Text includes numerous unacknowledged changes proposed by Kidd in 1985. Later denying it, then admitting it, then denying admiting it, Gabler will for years promise journalists that he will explain where he got the changes made between 1984 and 1986, but convinces none of them.  [See three articles, 1990-1997, by persistent film-maker Robin Bates, HERE.] [Borrowed Kidd-Korrecturen of Gablerian lapses identified HERE

Fall 1987.  Kidd is invited to debate Gabler in Venice on Bloomsday of the coming year by the International James Joyce Foundation. Kidd accepts, but Gabler refuses. Kidd sproposes a German-speaking chairman for the debate, Fritz Senn. Senn says his rule will be no reading of papers, only short specific examples from the text of Ulysses, and no one on the stage but Gabler and Kidd. Gabler refuses more forcefully. So the Joyce Foundation organizers eliminate Kidd and proceed with Gabler alone, with Senn as chair, with a couple others allowed to join in if approved by Gabler.

June 16, 1988. With Gabler in Venice to celebrate his Kidd-free non-debate, the New York Review of Books publishes "The Scandal of Ulysses" (with a cover date June 30). For the only time in its history, the New York Review sells out so quickly a second printing is ordered. The day before, the New York Times had run a story by Edwin McDowell which, in short, retracts or reframes everything that McDowell had reported four years earlier when no independent scholars had actually seen the Ulysses being trumpeted on the front page of the Times.  Once again, Joyce's portrait on the front  page and startling news within: Jason Epstein, the editorial director of Random House, Gabler's publisher, suspects their Ulysses is "seriously flawed." A blue ribbon committee is appointed to undertake the investigation urged three years earlier by Jeremy Treglown, editor of the TLS. Ireland's most famous literary critic, Denis Donoghue, dismisses Gabler's 1984 claim in the scholarlly annual Text to have engaged the "totality of the Work-in-Progress," using Gabler's own words against him: "It claims precision and totality it does not deserve." With Kidd banned, Gabler needed to populate the Venice panel with supporters, so he approved Professor Christine  Froula, who had praised him extravagantly in the Yale Review in 1986. In the interim Froula had read Kidd's work, grilled him in New Haven where he was working with manuscripts never seen by Gabler, and concluded that she had been gravely mislead. So it was to her hotel room in Venice that the New York Review had a hundred copies delivered for sharing with the Joyceans. And the European edition of the New York Times ran these words about his Ulysses from the scholar approved by Gabler as safe enough to share the stage that same day: "the groundwork was inadequately laid and the scholarship haphazard and unprofessional." Not only for its fresh revelations of blunders like Gabler swapping Anglo-Irish names Thrift and Buller for Germanic Shrift and irrelevant Culler did "The Scandal of Ulysses" have an impact unsurpassed by any book review in the twentieth century -- the lightning strike on Venice that same day redoubled the thunder. Kidd spent that Bloomsday in the studios of National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., and, as the journalistic phrase goes, Hans Walter Gabler "could not be reached."

July 1988. Boston University establishes the James Joyce Research Center, recruiting John Kidd away from the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Virginia. Kidd already owned the largest collection of Ulysses editions. In a dozen years in Boston, he would assemble the world's largest collection of Joyce or any other recent author -- 10,000 volumes in forty languages, from fifty countries, which he now calls the James Joyce Research Library. But that summer in 1988, two or three leading Joyce scholars called the president of Boston University, John Silber, to abort the appointment. When they balked at putting anything in writing, Silber later told Kidd at a Kennedy Library fundraiser, he "knew they were liars."

December 1988. The New York Review of Books drops another bombshell on the Joyce Industry. Although John Kidd had been told personally by two of the advisers to Gabler's edition that they were dissatisfied with his work, even his grasp of idiomatic English, Kidd chose to ignore these issues and stick to the factual  deficiences of Ulysses: A Critical and Synoptic Edition and its spin-off, Ulysses: The Corrected Text. But another scholar, Charles Rossman of the University of Texas, tired of hearing Kidd's qualifications disparaged in a telephone campaign of rumors, had contacted Kidd to meet the man himself. Rossman decided to take up the commercial side of the story where Kidd's academic analysis left off. In "The New Ulysses : The Hidden Controversy," Rossman published everything allowable under the law: the doubts over Gabler's English, the resignations of key advisers, the effort to subvert Kidd's reputation. The late Richard Ellmann, the sole Estate adviser not to resign in feuds with Gabler, warned him that "much of what you have been describing as logical or systematic is in fact capricious" -- this coming from his last ally. Rossman dismantled Gabler's self-portrait as a "logical" German beset by an irrational Irish-American redhead, John Kidd. He had promised 8,000 changes, eventually dwindling to 5,000, and soon-to-be "Professor" Hans Walter Gabler was the key to seventy-five more years of royalties. No other editor was willing to make an entirely new book, a newly copyrightable book, out of James Joyce's Ulysses. Jack Dalton's approach was less radical, and he was shunted aside. Then Gabler and Groden stepped forward. With Groden left cheering on the sidelines, Gabler could earn tenure while giving the Estate a new lease on life. In the Ellmann archives purchased by the University of Tulsa, another oil-rich school likle his own, Rossman found it all in writing, and wrote it up.

February 2-4, 1989. The Times Literary Supplement was the first to demand an investigation into Gabler's accuracy. The Irish Literary Supplement was the first to publish a lengthy account of Gabler's errors and confusions. As if fated by its name to rush in where the James Joyce Quarterly, feared to tread (assigning their "review" of Gabler to a member of his own editorial team) the James Joyce Literary Supplement  took a belated but bold step. For the annual Joyce birthday conference, the cutesy "Miami J'yce" theme was scrapped.  Bernard Benstock and Zack Bowen, two of the (incredibly) five tenured Joyceans on staff at the University of Miami a demanded, once and for all, a face-to-face debate. They got  Gabler, but like the 1988 Venice organizers they got no debate. Gabler came, but would not mount the stage unless there were at least four other people up there at all times. Gabler at the audience's far left, John Kidd at the far right, and for three days various teams of insulators were arrayed in between. Reporters came from New York and London but there was little to report. Gabler devoted "rebuttal" times not to what had just been said about his work by Kidd or Rossman or Benstock or Bowen or Hart or Gaskell or Norris anyone else on stage or in the audience, but read pages about his editorial theories -- not his practice. After the second day of this, at an evening bookstore reception one professor who knew neither Kidd nor Gabler might have said "fire and ice," but whispered instead, "Mozart and Salieri." Seventeen years later Gabler's refusal to answer his critics in Miami -- or anywhere -- was summarized in a Brazilian magazine's retelling of that day in Miami and of the Joyce Wars as a whole: "Gabler ignored everyone." 

June 1989. The Bibliographical Society of America publishes Kidd's 174-page study, "An Inquiry into Ulysses: The Corrected Text." For the only time in its history a single article fills an entire issue of the journal. Boston University offers the work as a separate monograph, and David Seaman compiles the work into the first ever print+digital literary monograph on floppy disk, itself a publishing landmark. [Gutenberg and Beyond exhibit HERE.] The investigative committee established by Gabler's American publisher, Random House, circulates copies to all parties and asks for comments. When it is disbanded a year later, the Random House committee had still received no response from Gabler. 

June 1990.    Vintage International, a paperback imprint of Random House, re-issues the classic version of Ulysses as it existed before the 5,000 changes made by Gabler. Random House adopts Kidd's suggestion at the close of the "Scandal of Ulysses" in the New York Review exactly two years earlier. The most stunning reversal of fortune ever to befall a textual scholar's reputation has settled upon Hans Walter Gabler, but he continues to insist that his was the right theory, the most rigorous of scholarship, and the only possible way to edit James Joyce's Ulysses. At the time many saw this as a case of the Emperor's New Clothes, with John Kidd as the only scholar young enough, naive enough, and far enough from the "imperial" orbit of the Joyce Industry to Speak Truth to Power. Perhaps. But few of those who latched upon the analogy recalled the conclusion of Hans Christian Anderson's parable . . .