James Joyce's Manuscripts and Letters at the University of Buffalo
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The approximately 20,000 pages of Joyce manuscripts and letters in the Lockwood Memorial Library of the University of Buffalo here catalogued by Dr. Spielberg offer scholars and critics much unpublished and unsifted material for the explication and examination of Joyce's individual works, as well as the raw material necessary for a detailed exploration of James Joyce's creative process.
The scope of the Buffalo Joyce Collection is vast, spanning the full range of Joyce's writing career from 1900 to 1940, from his Epiphanies to possible revisions for Finnegans Wake. Dr. Spielberg's work in compiling the present catalogue of Joyce's own writings and letters in the collection now provides for Joyceans a guide to what up until now has been mainly uncharted territory. The manuscripts—workbooks, notebooks, sketches, schemas, notes, early and late drafts, fair copies, typescripts, galley and page proofs, errata, translations, and letters—have been divided into ten major categories: "Epiphanies," "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," "Exiles," "Verses," "Ulysses," "Finnegans Wake," "Criticism," "Notebooks," "Miscellaneous Manuscripts," and "Letters from Joyce. " Each item has been described and identified, following a uniform format for the pertaining facts: title, collation, pagination, contents, other markings, dating, publication, and notes.
In his introduction to the catalogue, the author describes the Buffalo Joyce Collection itself, giving the history of its growth, its extent, and holdings. In discussing the manuscripts, he calls particular attention to the "Finnegans Wake Workbooks" (MSS. VI. A. , B. , C. , and D. ), which, he comments, "are probably the strangest manuscripts in existence—even for so strange a book as Finnegans Wake … The apparent disorder and lock of organization of these workbooks is a false impression. Where the reader of the workbooks stumbles and bombinates through what seems to be utter blackness, Joyce danced and skipped with ease. What to us seems chaos was neatness and method to Joyce. " It is Dr. Spielberg's hope that the manuscripts he has catalogued will, when examined in detail, "offer a key to the better understanding of the 'hides and hints and misses in prints' in the writings of the most controversial figure of twentieth-century literature. "
While on the faculty of the University of Buffalo, Peter Spielberg devoted nearly three years to the task of cataloguing the manuscripts and letters of James Joyce held in the collection of the University's Lockwood Memorial Library. "A full and true appreciation of the collection will come to light only through its continued use by Joyce scholars," he says. "With this aim in mind I have undertaken the task of briefly charting and laying out for inspection a portion of the Joycean labyrinth. "
Born in Vienna, Dr. Spielberg came to America in 1940, a refugee from the Nazis. He earned his bachelor's degree at the College of the City of New York and his master's at New York University. From 1958 to 1961 he was an instructor in English at the University of Buffalo, where he took his Ph. D. He is now an instructor in English at Brooklyn College.