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I've just been sent a copy of Manuscript Genetics: Joyce's Know-how, Beckett's Nohow by Dirk van Hulle (University Press of Florida; I was also kindly sent Cannibal Joyce). I have precious little idea what "manuscript genetics" is/are, so, before I've read it, here is what the UPF website has to say about van Hulle's book:


By taking the principles of manuscript genetics and using them to engage in a comparative study of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, Dirk Van Hulle has produced a provocative work that re-imagines the links between the two authors. His elegant readings reveal that the most striking similarities between these two lie not in their nationality or style but in their shared fascination with the process of revision.

Van Hulle's thoughtful application of genetic theory -- the study of a work from manuscript to final form in its various iterations -- marks a new phase in this dynamic field of inquiry. As one of only a handful of books in English dealing with this emerging area of study, Manuscript Genetics: Joyce's Know-How, Beckett's Nohow will be indispensable not only to Joyce and Beckett scholars but also to anyone interested in genetic criticism.

Indispensable: you heard the man!


The book opens with a nice epigraph quoting Virginia Woolf:


It is doubtful whether in the course of the centuries, though we have learnt much about making machines, we have learnt anything about making literature. We do not come to write better; all that we can be said to do is to keep moving, now a little in this direction, now in that.

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