The expiry of EU copyright in the works of James Joyce will lead to a profusion of new publications and adaptations of the great writer’s oeuvre in the course of this year. Major new editions of Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubiners are in preparation, while the James Joyce Archive in Dublin is to publish a special edition of Joyce’s most celebrated short story, ‘The Dead’.
There is surprisingly little talk of plans to publish Joyce’s works as enhanced ebooks, a format ideally suited to exploring his densely layered fictions. One looks forward to seeing them adapted with as much skill and creativity as has gone into the iPad app for T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.
In the meantime, Swift is making its own modest contribution to Joyceana with the publication of a new digital edition of ‘The Dead’. There’s nothing particularly high-tech about it, just the text presented as close as possible to the way the author intended, with a few embedded notes and – perhaps most importantly – dashes in place of the ‘perverted commas’ he detested.