Ireland at the Bar by jjqblog
April 27, 2012, 11:54 AM
Filed under: Events, People

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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To an anonymous blogger officially representing the robust organ of the finest Joyce scholarship in the world.

Your Effulgence,

One of the lower-rung criteria one associates with the status indicated by the description ‘scholar’ is that he (the self-professed scholar [and I use the pronoun – ‘he’ – in its gender-neutral sense as there is insufficient ink in my poor-scholar’s pot for the reiterative inscription ‘he or she’ and its derivatives where the single word ‘he’ conveys what it is I intend to convey as succinctly {in two letters} as the medium of the Queen’s English permits, and thus heedless of the ink-wasting convention of using the aforesaid expression ‘he or she’ or the ghastly androgynous term ‘(s)he’ that in my own view does nothing {in the real world} to enhance the lives of the long down-trodden women of the world {and I life my hat to that doleful sorority} reeling under the onslaught of meandering male fists, to borrow Mr Joyce’s felicitous phrase]) at the very least checks the reliability of his sources of information, unlike, say, journalists for ‘The Dublin (Georgia) Daily Mail’, or some such infamous rag or tabloid, that trades in gossip, invariably resulting in the gleeful dissemination of non-facts, as if the achievement of complete ignorance among the newspaper-reading and blog-scouring (and ‘scour’ is the operative verb) public is a great, even sacred, desideratum. A ‘poor’ scholar – poor in the sense of one mildly intellectually impaired, rather than one who is church-mouse impecunious, and there are many such of these two types (and indeed some personalities of both at once, as the conditions, one financial, the other, cerebral, are not mutually exclusive or even incompatible) – who yet aspires (for whatever self-deluding thirst for grandeur) to the imperium – the high office, dignity and civic responsibility – of being a real ‘scholar’ or scholiast – will check the facts and seek to synthesise these into some thesis, no matter how misbegotten or wrongheaded: an ‘expert’ scholar, on the other hand, will consider the facts, once these data are ascertained as facts and not mere hearsay, rumour, gossip, or scandal-mongering – often malicious as is the nature of these categories of disinformation – and, exercising his (yes, there he is again) perspicacity – the very quality that best characterises a genuine scholar – and present summarily with perspicuity and, indeed sometimes, panache, to his readers, who persist as such precisely in the (in this case, false) assumption that the voice they are hearing is indeed authoritative and has exercised due caution and reserve as would be expected of even a poor scholar (in either or both of the aforementioned senses) in the production of a final, balanced, two clauses per sentence, reasoned, bracket-free, non-elliptical, non-parenthetical, and well-articulated précis.

I find therefore that the statement, boldly put, in your blog (a word that puts me – and perhaps others – in mind of a species of bog, with all of its Hiberno-Irish connotations), that ‘Denis O’Hanlon is the legal name of Danis Rose’ is a case at point. As myself being the person spoken of, the very Danis Rose in question, I can assert that the true statement is as follows, no matter how extraordinary and startling it is (facts being a stranger to and stranger than fiction):
That this should be put in question, and the question aired so triumphantly, as if thereby achieving some hitherto hidden and unseen, even unsuspected, insight into the zealously protected reclusive nature and mind of the aforementioned person, given to periodic states of courtly socklessness for reasons known only to the initiated, under the guise of ‘breaking’ news, is indicative of the state of affairs that sadly has ever persisted in the gutter press (and gutter is the epithet that most utterly expresses the case) but that now has entered through a virtual open door into the supposedly (and, I imagine, proudly so supposed) higher intellectual theatre where the blogger struts, that is, the byways of academe that run through the leafy ‘James Joyce Quarterly’. Finally, to put a final bullet in the rogue’s head, where it belongs, and thereby, in Joyce’s decisive turn of phrase, ‘to remove all doubt, guv’, I shall supply a photo-replicate of my passport (found discarded in a drawer) in material corroboration of the characteristically radical, yet corrective and illuminating assertions made above, if required.
I suggest an unpaid and extended leave of absence for the offending blogger in order to make space where he can re-acquaint himself in some school with the most basic of criteria of true judgement necessary prior to the making of public pronouncements, if indeed it is found possible to locate such a school in Europe or in America, or elsewhere in more exotic places of learning, such as in Ireland, isle of the sainted sage and half-famished scholar, or perhaps in India, where the lean-loined yogis chant their bija mantras, hum (noun, pronounced ‘huuuum’, not verb meaning to make a resonant noise in one’s throat) and the like, ever avaricious of satori. If not, there remains the rope.

Yours &c, Danis Rose

Comment by joycemanuscriptsdublin

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