JAMES JOYCE & EZRA POUND
Good Friday [29 March] 1918, 12:07 a.m.
Dear Joyce: As I wrote this a.m. or yesterday, we have got your first installment into print. 30 copies have reached me here. I suppose we’ll be suppressed. The Egoist printers wont set up the stuff at all. I dont mind suppression for the first chapter. Its worth it.
Section 4. has excellent things in it; but you overdo the matter. Leave the stool to Geo. Robey. He has been doing “down where the asparagus grows, for some time.
I think certain things simply bad writing, in this section. Bad because you waste the violence. You use a stronger word than you need, and this is bad art, just as any needless superlative is bad art.
The contrast between Blooms interior poetry and his outward surroundings is excellent, but it will come up without such detailed treatment of the dropping feces.
Quinn is already in a rage over my reference to the late Doctor C. in the March number. Quinn, by the way, has been in hospital for a major operation, and we cant have him worried unnecessarily.
Perhaps an unexpurgated text of you can be printed in a greek or bulgarian translation later.
I’m not even sure “urine” is necessary in the opening page. The idea could be conveyed just as definitely.
In the thing as it stands you will lose effectiveness. The excrements will prevent people from noticing the quality of things contrasted.
At any rate the thing is risk enough without the full details of the morning deposition.
If we are suppressed too often we’ll be suppressed finally and for all, to the damn’d stoppage of all our stipends. AND I cant have our august editress jailed, NOT at any rate for a passage which I do not think written with utter maestria.
Hence these tears.