The Grail Mass and Other Works by David Jones
Editors: Thomas Goldpaugh and Jamie Callison
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Book Description: Drawing on new archival discoveries, this book presents an authoritative reconstruction of David Jones’s The Grail Mass,the unfinished and unpublished project from which came both his masterpiece The Anathemata – a work described by W.H. Auden as ‘one of the most important poems of our times’ – and The Sleeping Lord and other fragments, his final collection. With detailed commentary on the development and reconstruction of the text, this edition provides a full picture of Jones’s literary endeavours over the second half of his life and further establishes his status as a major figure in the first wave of British modernist writers alongside T.S. Eliot and James Joyce.
In addition to the text of The Grail Mass, this edition includes a number of unpublished fragments by Jones that emerged from this larger project, complete with textual commentaries.
The Grail Mass is an indispensable addition to the Jones corpus. It is also a deeply impressive textual achievement, and a brilliantly realized and instructive engagement with a rich and complex literary archive. […] The fullness of Jones’s vision on the page is honoured, and poetic practices which might seem esoteric are validated and released for the reader’s appreciation. Jones’s work needs shrewd and percipient editors, who are not just alert to the complexities of the material text but also prepared to confront and illuminate the challenges of meaning. In Goldpaugh and Callison, it has found them. Their curiosity and authority as editors shines through with the same force whether they are describing Jones’s use of pencil, ink or biro, or revisiting the ambiguous and provocative issue of his political attitudes.
Like much modernist art, this poem is actually a triumphant achievement of assembling fragments, in this case, by the editors. All those who appreciate the poetry of David Jones, and others who do not yet know his work, will be in debt to them for recreating a work of art with beauty of both content and form.