"Cyclops" and Borus Hupinkoff


Joyce reportedly wrote a third of Ulysses in proof—a stage in the publishing process that is typically reserved for minor corrections and additions. The large, eight-page format of French galley proofs on view in the gallery, known as placards, offered ample marginal space to accommodate Joyce’s creative practice. This detail of a "Cyclops" placard pertains to one of the passages that Joyce revised most heavily. In addition to the long marginal inscriptions, Joyce’s note in French, indicated with a red A, instructs the printer to insert two new manuscript pages, one of which is on view adjacent to the placard. The lengthy handwritten addition includes a list of “Friends of the Emerald Isle,” parodic names such as “Commendatore Bacibaci Beninobenone” and “Monsieur Pierrepaul Petitépatant.” Across several stages of the proofs, the dignitaries expanded in number. In a brief note sent to Darantiere's manager, M. Hirchwald, Joyce conveyed another late addition named “Borus Hupinkoff” along with a postscript complaining about imperfections in their typographic character f. A pressman marked his request “trop tard” (too late) and Borus did not appear in editions of Ulysses for sixty years.

James Joyce (1882–1941)
Detail of Placard 34 for the “Cyclops” episode in Ulysses
[Dijon: Maurice Darantiere, October 1921]
Houghton Library, Harvard University, part gift of Marian Willard Johnson in memory of Sylvia Beach, and part purchase with funds from the Amy Lowell Fund, 1969; Ms Eng 160.4 (83)

James Joyce (1882–1941)
Manuscript additions to placard 34 for the “Cyclops” episode, Paris, 1921
Courtesy of the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York
© The Estate of James Joyce.


How do you finish a novel as ambitious as Ulysses? As Joyce worked on the final episodes of the book, he also began to transform earlier episodes, he went back and back, hardly ever deleting, mostly adding, and in total excitement, sometimes, with lists of names, he would think of another name to add. There's a parodic list of names called Friends of the Emerald Isle, and they include all sorts of ridiculous people, with ridiculous names. Some of it’s very, very funny, but just as the book was going to press, just as the printers were working on getting it ready, Joyce told him one more name he wanted in the list. The name was “Borus Hupinkoff,” which Joyce thought was tremendously funny, and he sent it off telling the printers exactly where it should go. But it was too late. They wrote back saying, “trop tard,” and that name did not make its way into the 1922 edition of Ulysses. It had to wait until the Hans Walter Gabler edition appeared in the 1980s. So for sixty years, that name was wandering the Earth. It did not make its way into print, but it's part of the extraordinary energy that Joyce put in to completing his book, and then thinking it wasn't complete wanting one more thing, wanting to rewrite to add to amend, completely unsatisfied, no matter how close he was to the end.