Letter of Protest from a Printer

In this letter to Sylvia Beach, a man named Hirchwald—the only English-speaking employee at Maurice Darantiere’s printshop—protests Joyce’s complaint about errors in the latest Ulysses proofs. Joyce was writing and proofing simultaneously, as he told a friend: “[I] am working like a lunatic, trying to revise and improve and connect and continue and create all at the one time.” Hirchwald blames Joyce’s handwritten additions for the errors, reminding Beach that his colleagues cannot read English. Promising to fix these “small nuisances” in his final proofreading, scholars have proven that Hirchwald in fact introduced new errors when correcting his typesetters’ work.

M. Hirchwald
Letter to Sylvia Beach, 11 October 1921
Courtesy of the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York