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John Quinn

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posted on 2023-06-19, 14:52 authored by Dirk Van HulleDirk Van Hulle
John Quinn

Prominent and successful New York lawyer John Quinn is remembered mainly as one of the most influential art collectors of the early 20th century and as a champion of modern literature. Born in Ohio of Irish immigrant parents, Quinn established a legal practice in New York, where he rapidly became one of the city's leading financial attorneys. Following a visit to Ireland in 1902 during which he came to know members of the Yeats family, Quinn supported them extensively. He promoted and defended Irish and Irish-American causes in the United States, notably the Abbey Theatre company's 1911 American tour. Quinn became a prodigious collector of modern paintings and one of the primary supporters of the New York Armory Show of 1913. From art, Quinn progressed to books and literary manuscripts, beginning with Joseph Conrad and, through a relationship with Ezra Pound, to JJ. Quinn's purchase of JJ's manuscript of Exiles in May 1917 alerted JJ to the value of his handwritten work. Quinn unsuccessfully represented Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap when the July-August 1920 issue of The Little Review containing parts of "Nausicaa" was seized by the authorities and tried for obscenity in a New York Court in February 1921. Quinn's attempts to find an American publisher for Ulysses were fruitless. His sole in-person meeting with JJ was on a trip to Paris in October 1923. At the sale of Quinn's immense library in January 1924, JJ was outraged at what he felt to be an insultingly low figure of $1975 achieved for the Ulysses manuscript. JJ's attempts to purchase it from the buyer, A.S.W. Rosenbach, were rejected. Quinn died in July of that year. William Brockman


James Joyce's Unpublished Letters: A Digital Edition and Text-Genetic Study.

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