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Our Exagmination Round his Factifications for Incamination of Work in Progress


Samuel Beckett, Marcel Brion, Frank Budgen, Stuart Gilbert, Eugene Jolas, Victor Llona, Robert McAlmon, Thomas McGreevy, Elliot Paul, John Rodker, Robert Sage, William Carlos Williams.


Letter of Protest


G.V.L. Slingsby and Vladimir Dixon.

First published in mcmxxix
by Shakespear and company, Paris
and by Faber and Faber Limited
24 Russel Square London W.C.1
Second impression mcmlxi
Printed in Great Britain
By Bradford and Dickens, London W.C. 1.

All rights reserved


The surviving authors of Our Exagmination have very kindly asked its former publisher to contribute to the reissue of their work a few words about its origin. Many of the essays included were first published by Eugene Jolas in his review, transition: what, therefore, could be more fitting than an introduction by Mrs. Eugene Jolas? But she has declined the honour, Mr. Stuart Gilbert has too, so it is left to me to tell how this little volume came about.

To begin with, I have a confession to make: when given a piece of Work in Progress to interpret by the author, I failed to pass my ‘exagmination’: whereas, as will be seen in the twelve essays in this volume, all these followers of the Work went around in it with the greatest ease.

‘Our Exag’, as at Shakespeare and Company it was called, is most valuable, indeed indispensable to readers of Finnegans Wake: they would do well to hear what these writers, friends and collaborators of Joyce, followers of his new work as it progressed, have to say on the subject. They had the advantage of hearing the hints that he sould let fall and the delightful stories he told when in the company of his friends.

Our exagmination is therefore unique. And it has the added charm of Joyce’s presence, for Mr. Stuart Gilbert strongly suspects that Mr. Vladimir Dixon, author of ‘A Litter’ is James Joyce himself.

In 1929, date of publication of Our Exagmination, the future Finnegans Wake was appearing in transitions and its readers were following it with excitement, though often losing their way in the dark of this night piece. They needed help: the articles contributed to transitions by writers who had penetrated deeply into the mysteries of Work in Progress and other essays on the subject, were assembled in the volume entitled (by Joyce) Our Exagmination round his Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress, and brought out by Shakespeare and Company.

Sylvia Beach.

Table of Contents

Dante…Bruno, Vico.. Joyce  by Samuel Beckett

The Idea of Time in the Work of James Joyce,  by Marcel Brion

James Joyce’s Work in Progress and Old Norse Poetry  by Frank Budgen

Prolegomena To Work in Progress, by Stuart Gilbert

The Revolution of Language and James Joyce, by Eugene Jolas

I dont know what to call it but its mighty unlike prose, by Victor Llona

Mr. Joyce directs and Irish Word Ballet,  by Robert McAlmon

The Catholic Element in Work in Progress, by Thomas McGreevy

Mr. Joyce Treatment of Plot, by Elliot Paul

Joyce and his Dynamic, by  John Rodker

Before Ulisses – and After by Rober Sage

A Point for American Criticism by Willian Carlos Williams

Writes a Common Reader by G.V.L.Slingsby

A Litter to Mr. James Joyce, by Vladimir Dixon




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