To the Editors:
Since mid-June, when it published a long article by Mr. John Kidd, The New York Review has devoted extensive space to questioning the integrity of Hans Walter Gabler’s edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the edition now circulated in the US and Great Britain. This is not an idle controversy; readers and students of a masterwork need some way to gauge their confidence in what its publisher offers.
Recently Prof. Michael Groden, cited on Gabler’s titlepage as an assistant to the edition’s Academic Advisory Committee, sent The New York Review a detailed refutation of many of Kidd’s allegations. We learn that, for reasons not convincing to us, the Review chooses not to print Prof. Groden’s letter. The Review is entitled to print or not print what it likes. But we think its readers are entitled to know that a major document in this controversy is being withheld from their inspection.
The Johns Hopkins University
A. Walton Litz
Princeton, New Jersey
The Editors replies:
Since publishing Mr. Kidd’s essay, The New York Review has printed a reply from Hans Walter Gabler of about 1,500 words in the August 18 issue and a further response from Mr. Gabler in the September 29 issue. We have also published a response to Mr. Kidd’s article of some 3,660 words from John O’Hanlon, who wrote “as a member of the editorial team that oversaw the critical edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses,” as well as a letter from the editor of the James Joyce Quarterly. We have by now published approximately 6,000 words taking issue with Mr. Kidd. When we received Mr. Groden’s letter of more than 3,000 words, we pointed out to him that we had already devoted much space to replies and that a number of the questions he raised were already taken up in Mr. Kidd’s response in the September 29 issue, which Mr. Groden could not yet have seen. We sent him a copy of that response, and said we were willing to consider a shorter letter. We also called attention to some statements by him about Mr. Kidd we knew to be incorrect since they were based on an inaccurate contributor’s note we, not Mr. Kidd, published in The New York Review. We have so far heard nothing from him in reply, only from Mr. Litz and Mr. Kenner. (Mr. Litz, it should be noted, is listed as a member of the Academic Advisory Committee for Mr. Gabler’s critical edition of Ulysses, and Mr. Kenner, in the acknowledgements, is described by Mr. Gabler as having “buoyed the edition in the spirit of Joyceans.”) Our invitation to Mr. Groden still stands.
October 27, 1988