James Joyce children’s story The Cats of Copenhagen gets first publication



James Joyce children’s story The Cats of Copenhagen gets first publication

Originally written for his grandson, 1936 tale issued in limited edition of 200 copies amid controversy over copyright
James Joyce 

James Joyce: From Finnegans Wake to Stephen’s bedtime. Photograph: Roger Viollet/AFP/Getty
A children’s story by James Joyce has been published for the first time ever by a small press in Ireland.

Joyce’s The Cats of Copenhagen is a “younger twin sister” to his published children’s story The Cat and the Devil, which told of how the devil built a bridge over a French river in one night, said Ithys Press. Publisher Anastasia Herbert called it a “little gem” which she said “reflects Joyce’s lighter side, his sense of humour – which can fairly be called odd or even somewhat absurdist”.

Like its predecessor, The Cats of Copenhagen was written in a letter to Joyce’s grandchild, Stephen James Joyce, while the author was in Denmark and the four-year-old Stephen was in France. The new tale is “exquisite, surprising, and with a keen, almost anarchic subtext”, said Ithys, which has printed a limited run of 200 illustrated copies, ranging in price from €300 (£250) to €1,200.

“In early August 1936, Joyce had sent his grandson ‘a little cat filled with sweets’ – a kind of Trojan cat to outwit the grown-ups. A few weeks later, while in Copenhagen and probably after hunting for another fine gift, Joyce penned ‘Cats’, which begins: ‘Alas! I cannot send you a Copenhagen cat because there are no cats in Copenhagen.’ Surely there were cats in Copenhagen! But perhaps not secretly delicious ones. And so the story proceeds to describe a Copenhagen in which things are not what they seem,” said Herbert. “For an adult reader (and no doubt for a very clever child) ‘Cats’ reads as an anti-establishment text, critical of fat-cats and some authority figures, and it champions the exercise of common sense, individuality and free will.”
The letter in which the story was found, dated 5 September 1936, was donated by Hans Jahnke, son of Giorgio Joyce’s second wife, Asta, to the Zurich James Joyce Foundation. The Foundation has called its publication an “outrage”, stressing that it has not granted permission for the book’s release.

“We have been completely overlooked and ignored. It’s only common decency to ask the owner,” said the Foundation’s Fritz Senn. “We are outraged. We have had no hand in this unfair thing and feel not just ignored but cheated.”

Although the published works of Joyce entered the public domain in Europe on 1 January this year, Senn says it has not yet been determined whether the non-published material is now out of copyright as well. “Copyright has been lifted only, we believe, from the published material. All the huge amount of non-published material we believe is still under copyright, so this is, we believe, an infringement of that,” he said, adding that he is concerned the “very belligerent” Joyce estate might sue. “We haven’t heard from them [but] what I’m afraid of is that with the large amount of copyright taken away from them, their remaining territory will be defended even more fiercely.”

But Anastasia Herbert of Ithys Press believes the unpublished works of Joyce are now in the public domain. “A publication such as that of The Cats of Copenhagen is legal and valid and any attempt to interfere with its free dissemination is both unlawful and morally reprehensible,” she wrote in a statement, in which she went on to say that the “attempt by Mr Fritz Senn of the Zurich Joyce Centre proprietarily to assert some right on this now public-domain document is preposterous”.

“The book was conceived not as a commercial venture but as a carefully crafted tribute to a rather different Joyce, the family man and grandfather who was a fine storyteller, much like his own father John Stanislaus,” wrote Herbert. Those with a spare €300 will be able to find out.

THE TALE OF THE TRIBE: 1936. By Steven "fly agaric" Pratt

Here’s my latest update and interpretation of ‘the tale of the tribe’ is in the form of a google web-site, that I am still editing and readying for some kind of launch. Here’s a recently edited rough synopsis of what I have done with some of the characters. –steve fly.


Before Dr. Robert Anton Wilson graduated life in early 2007 he shared with the world a tantalizing glimpse into an epic project that he called ‘the tale of the tribe’ (TTOTT): the blueprint for a new synthesis of some of the greatest minds of the 21st century, uniting quantum mechanics, neuro-semantics, design-science, Ideogramic method, history and culture, together into a typically RAW montage’ of forces and values to help others distinguish useful information from all the bullshit. The historical characters or ‘evolutionists’ from RAW’s TTOTT krewe were individuals that helped to speed up the ability of humans to condense ideas and then share information, that has directed humanity into the – information age – and the sharing mass-age. In Our Historys Back’ fly has designed an environment based in 1936 where these TTOTT characters can blend their creative genius and fall into orbit with one another; poets, linguists, logicians, design-scientists and artists meet to share their wisdom on advancing humanity into the 21st century. New creative research into the tale of the tribe aims to open up a new vista of interpretations from the fragments left to us by Dr. Wilson. And this adaptation of Dr. Wilson’s ‘tale of the tribe’ is the first such project, to my knowledge, to tackle TTOTT lineage and place some characters into a new Novel architecture. I hope that this project will at least encourage some of you who are on a similar road of investigation and nudge-nudge – create your own TTOTT synthesis.

Our Historys Back’ features remixed ‘TTOTT’ characters rounded into a tale within a tale by our protagonists. The tale within a tale follows a band of old bards who journey to the 1936 Olympic Games into the sick-heart of the Nazi intelligence games to boldly state their perfected word and communicate their sporting peace to all nations on behalf of artists, painters and poets worldwide. Standing in their way are a sordid alliance of spies from many nations including English, American, German, Canadian and Soviet agents; who have arranged to meet in Berlin to finalize their annual guns, dope and intelligence ‘trade off’

Max, Percy and Plush are three friends living in Amsterdam, 2012, united by their synchronistic interest in RAW’s ‘tale of the tribe’ and producing their own story that includes a culture’s hierarchy of values and histories. Plush has perfected his turntable-altable method of mixing and cutting specially crafted LP’s, that contain pre-recorded samples from the 1936 tale and afterwards, together with Max and Percy, they splice the recordings into dialogue and a dramatic sequence of events. The MPHDJ Method translates roughly as mixing special kinds of sampled literature using the approach of a musical DJ or turntablist.

The 1936 tale spans 48 hours and three main locations, taking place in theatres in New York and Rapallo’ simultaneously on July 31st’, and then moving to Berlin and the opening of the IXth Olympic Games on August 1st. The recurring theme of the story is probably the precept of ‘ language versus the equation’, translated into how the characters share their different fields of experience and wisdom creating a communication network, to help others bring a new peace to Europe through a linguistic relativism, a new language to help facilitate peace and communication between all nations and humanity.

–Steven “fly” Pratt.
28th October. 2009. Amsterdam.

comming soon….


Berlin 22-25th
July 2009.07.26

”What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logio-Philosopicus.

Hot Coach Eurolines
To swerve of Olympic Stadium – swimming,
Yoga, Novel video recording, sunshine
HemJoymint and fuzz.

Diving board – splash,
Out and off on U2 train East!
To Spittlemarkt and naked lunch.

Good cheer, Laffta
Play on (words)
Drop jokes not bombs.

Deconstruction of off pist‘ subject matter
Syntax and form of what we
Cannot speak about, with friends

Eye contact, smiles, a mutter
Who? what? and the wrestler
Of sense.

Three became four, five, six and seven, eight!
Experienced in the life.

English was spoken and shook up
Whole societies, people and tribes in the wind
Of deep sea black smoking thermal vents.

High City Eyeline, and light pale rants
Sky, breaks in the digital weather forcast
The pintter-patter of Blackberry maps.

Heavens crunched Earshots
But no damp or gush of wet
– Sunshine on a rainy day.

Alreadymade Laptop Pissa’
Off the net felt good thought
With web buddies.

Forgetting Wittgenstein
In every breath, I want to say
I love you all, and feel honoured to be
Present. Flexible minds,
Distinguished thinkers

Friends, maybes
Even my teeth were saved by
Friends and nutrient knowledge

And the encyclone’ styles of cutting kickback
Banter. I, chasing
Wittgenstein until I look
Away towards what “is”, what maybe?

And lifted once more by a friend
A word, a description of place, time

A Long Pleasant Day
Out of time.
Korzybski in the air,
So hard to anchor.
Dillinger Rules Pool.

How many words lost?
And fielded back for another home-base run
Around of the unspeakable. Wisdom and sincerity (SINCERITAS)
Humour, (HILARITOOTH) wild trills’ and calm waves of
Maybe thread-workers.
Live interknitting. (HUMANITAS)

Free minds cast into a non electronic
Stage space,
My head between a wall
Of dutch soup beer waffle
I talked plenty and listened not nearly enough
And talked of playing and listening
All-at-once, with PLUCKING AIR

Synchonous “aha’s” “wow’s” and
Names after noons after places after traces

Tales of place and story, mine,
His, her’s, his and’
Some of their’s – Belgium, Germany, England, Netherlands

And loving perceptive feedback.
Oh jolly great Europe,
Here’s Congratulations Elffolk

Walking and talking
Sitting and drinking, smoking
Eating words over delectable food A lifting punk spirit of the street
Housing Caligraffed Everywhere

East street art, stickers, overgrown
Sidewalks of memory
Graffiti on Churches, in Chapels

Handmade Chapel Emulsion
Writing in technicoloured text
No Starbuck, KFC, Burger King in sight,
But they are close by rumour has it.

Heavenly Corporate Exstinguishing
On the street, on the Street – people and many distinguished

Happy cats and shrubbery blend street corners
The concrete with glass:
Light pink and grey, cream of mushroom soup

B is for Beer H is for Hash
V is for vegetable
E is fur’ Escher

No Skype, No Mouse, No Moustache’
No connect capatain, but SUN RA played Rings around Saturn
And (Detroit riots 67′) in the mouth.

Dillinger Rules pool
A day out of time, again.
Sitting in seat number 23.

Watching mini Norse rockers.
Time and space changed, I thought
Each 5 minutes another incredible
Piece of ‘cannot say speak’
B’ham, a joke…

Scrambles image and word, LO!
TV, movie, book (invocation of foot plot notes)

Wild cards and spilt beer served back with spin
Imaginations ping pong
Bouncing from screen to screen

Drop names not bombs
To quote or not to quote?
Literally – saying and speeching a trunk full of

Suspense, riffing on a whim – truth,
Sincere, On the edge of eternity, talk and chat,
With old friends…Sparks dart Walking up and down in the heart

Norse female rock band one night,
Rico Loops – a one man music showman the next,
Beatbox, Synth sampler multi instru’
– The Iggy Pop of Live electronica – I thought.
The A-Ha of fembot pop?

Groove music, Free world word music. Mothman pool table landing.
Shem and Shen and Iraq
A stolen wall, dodgy business for
City Space developers.

The Phone,
The loud strange
Conversations and crossed wired
Laughter, carrots, strawberries & Tea, coffee and friendlyness.
The laughter, cracking yokes.

Pushing temporary clusters of meaning
Out, up and over my head.
Temporary Clusters of meaning in the drinks
To spreek the cake-walk.
To almost pot seven from a break.

Us and them became we, maybeee’s
Most tollerant of each other
Dylan and The hero’s with a thousand

Habits, likes, dislikes and rants
All of them fielded masterfully,
Snowboarding over the Wiener Schnitzel ridges

Some Talk of NLP, Joyce and Grant Morrison
Talk of Arlen – and the many BOB’s
Had Fun everyone….

–Steve Fly.