A debate over attribution and authorship has landed a group of Joyceans in the courtroom to fight out a lawsuit; and once more, Danis Rose is at the center of events. He alleges that his critical commentary appeared unfairly and without his permission in four volumes of the Finnengans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo published under the editorship of Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer, and Geert Lernout in 2001. According to Rose, Stephen James Joyce–who then held the copyright in these materials–would only grant permission to publish if Rose was removed from the project. The lawsuit then asserts that Vincent Deane and Geert Lernourt along with Brepolis agreed to this demand but nevertheless used work he had written without permission or acknowledgement.
I do not know all the facts of the case, of course, but such claims go right to the heart of the scholarly enterprise with its dedication to rigor and accuracy in citation. Given the stirling reputations of Deane and Lernout as well as the work they have done for the JJQ in the past, I find it difficult to credit Rose’s claims. And the suit itself again reflects the kind of damage that copyright constraints have done to critics and scholars seeking to unravel Joyce’s works. The trial has now entered its second day and has been detailed in the Irish Times here and here.
A post-script: it appears that Danis Rose’s legal name is Denis O’Hanlon. One can’t help but wonder if that “Rose” somehow evokes Bloom’s nom de plume, Henry Flower.
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