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Monday, 25 October 2010

Harriet Shaw Weaver and James Joyce

In 1914 The New Freewoman was renamed The Egoist at the suggestion of Ezra Pound, who was involved in finding contributors, among them James Joyce. Later that year the magazine began serializing A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce was unable to find a publisher for his work and Harriet Shaw Weaver, convinced of his genius, established the Egotist Press to publish his work. Weaver had trouble finding a printer for Joyce's Ulysses and so she arranged for it to be printed abroad.

According to Rachel Cottam: "From 1916 Joyce and Weaver corresponded almost daily: she commented on his manuscripts, corrected his proofs, discussed his frustrations and aspirations, and gradually became involved in every aspect of his own and his family's well-being. Though she was aware that he spent money recklessly and sometimes drank to excess, she endeavoured to provide him with an assured family income by transferring him substantial sums of her capital." Rebecca West argued that without Weaver's dedication, it is "doubtful whether Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom would have found their way into the world's mind".

In 1931, Weaver joined the Labour Party. However, she became a fierce critic of Ramsay MacDonald and his National Government. In 1938 she switched her alliance to the Communist Party of Great Britain. She became a committed member and sold copies of The Daily Worker in the street.

Harriet Shaw Weaver, who never married, died at Castle End, near Saffron Walden, Essex, on 14th October 1961. and was cremated at Oxford.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WweaverH.htm

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