Monday, November 05, 2012

The Cats of Copenhagen: A Newly Discovered James Joyce Children's Story

A charming, irreverent picture-book based on Joyce's letters to his only grandson.
As a connoisseur of little-known children's books by famous authors of literature for grown-ups, I already knew that James Joyce had penned the charming 1965 picture-book The Cat and the Devil, based on a 1936 letter to his most beloved audience, his grandson Stephen. So imagine my delight at the news of a posthumous Joyce children's release, The Cats of Copenhagen (public library) – a never-before-published short story also based on a letter to Stephen.
In August 1936, Joyce mailed his grandson "a little cat filled with sweets" – a sort of candy mule designed to outwit Stephen's parents. "Alas! I cannot send you a Copenhagen cat because there are no cats in Copenhagen," Joyce wrote Stephen from Denmark a month later in a wonderfully playful, mischievous letter that unfolded into a whimsical tale. The short story, illustrated by Casey Sorrow in a style reminiscent of Edward Gorey and beautifully typeset by book artist Michael Caine, was only recently rediscovered and makes an offbeat but characteristically masterful addition to Joyce's well-known body of work.

Full piece at Brain Pickings Weekly

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