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Joyce scholars in row over Finnegans Wake

A JOYCEAN scholar who cracked the literary code to Finnegans Wake has brought a High Court action for damages for alleged breach of copyright in relation to his work.

Danis Rose, a nom de plume for Denis O'Hanlon, has sued two other Joycean scholars and a Belgian publisher over the alleged use of his commentary on the notebooks of James Joyce in connection with the celebrated literary work Finnegans Wake.

The case hinges on the alleged copyright of Mr Rose's analysis of the Joyce notebooks which the court heard was his life's work and which he started in the 1970s.

The dispute arises from a commentary, published in four volumes, entitled James Joyce The Finnegans Wake Notebooks At Buffalo, in 2001.

Mr Rose, of Strawberry Beds, Dublin, has brought proceedings in the High Court against Belgian book publishers Brepols, literary scholar Vincent Deane, of Anna Villa, Ranelagh, and Joyce expert Professor Geert Lernout, of the University of Antwerp. The claims are denied.

The court heard that Dublin author James Joyce kept notebooks, about 50 of which are extant.

In them, Joyce would regularly enter words or groups of words as well as unusual and foreign language words.

There was no readily apparent connection or structure within them or in relation to Joyce's published work. Many of the notebooks are held at the State University of New York, Buffalo.

In the mid-1970s, Mr Rose discovered a rationale or logic for all the notebook entries and how they are connected with the book Finnegans Wake, said his lawyer Michael Forde.

His analysis is used in the four volumes of James Joyce, The Finnegans Wake Notebooks At Buffalo. He claims it was used without his permission and without attribution. The case before Ms Justice Mary Laffoy continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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