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1 The Archive in Transition The National Library of Ireland’s New Joyce Manuscripts The list of new e-mail messages on that day in late September 2001 seemed unremarkable: the usual barrage of promises of better porn and lower debt, plus a few items of actual correspondence. None of those appeared to be particularly important. Among them was one from Noel Kissane, someone I did not know, who identified himself as the Keeper of Manuscripts at the National Library of Ireland. He asked if he could call me to talk about the manuscript of the “Circe” episode of Ulysses that the National Library had purchased the previous December and also about “recent associated developments .” I knew a little about the “Circe” acquisition: it was a draft that Joyce had sent as a “curiosity” in April 1921 to John Quinn (L 3:40), who was purchasing the entire Ulysses manuscript in episode sections as Joyce finished each one, and the library had bought it for $1.5 million at a Christie’s auction in New York. I hadn’t seen the manuscript when it was exhibited in London, Dublin, or New York before the auction, however, and I had only skimmed the Christie’s sale catalog, so I knew very little about it. I couldn’t imagine what I could tell Mr. Kissane that he didn’t already know or couldn’t learn from someone else in much greater detail. When he called me, it turned out that he didn’t want to talk about “Circe” at all but rather about the associated developments. Some other Joyce manuscripts had surfaced, he told me in confidence, and the owner had given the National Library an exclusive opportunity to buy them. Would I consider coming to London, where the documents were now located, in the next month or so to look at these manuscripts and report on them to the library? My first reaction was to balk. This was two weeks after September 11, after The Archive in Transition 15 all. I had just canceled an end-of-October commitment to talk on a panel at a conference in Houston because I didn’t want to fly anywhere, and I had moved to Toronto four months earlier and was only a couple of weeks into my new routine of commuting to London, Ontario, for three days each week to teach my classes at the University of Western Ontario. The thought of flying at all, and of leaving home to go to my university’s London from Monday to Wednesday, then to the London in England from Thursday to Sunday, and then again to the one in Ontario the next Monday to Wednesday, was distinctly unappealing. As I hesitated, Kissane said that he had prepared a short checklist of the documents and asked if he could at least e-mail it to me so that I could see what he was talking about. To that request it was easy to say yes. I wondered what these documents might be, of course. Two manuscripts for Ulysses had surfaced in the past two years, and both were sold at auction for huge sums. One was the “Circe” draft, the National Library’s new acquisition . People were surprised when this manuscript surfaced, but we quickly realized that we had been aware of its existence all along because of Joyce’s reference to it in his letter. The second manuscript, on the other hand, came from out of the blue. It was a draft of “Eumaeus,” one that, unlike the “Circe” draft, hardly anyone inside or outside of Joyce studies knew ever existed. Its provenance was less clear than that of the “Circe” draft. A French diplomat and writer named Henri Hoppenot possessed the document—he knew Adrienne Monnier and perhaps bought the manuscript from, or maybe was given it by, either her or Sylvia Beach—and after his death a French book dealer acquired it. Sotheby’s in London auctioned it for that dealer in July 2001. An anonymous private collector bought it for over £850,000 (more than $1.2 million at the time), and the whereabouts of this draft, which is sometimes called “Eumeo” from the name written on its cover (possibly by someone other than Joyce), at present are unknown. People who saw this manuscript when Sotheby’s exhibited it have described it as unique among the documents for Ulysses: according to Sam Slote, it features additions in red and green ink as...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813036564
Related ISBN
9780813034980
MARC Record
OCLC
664428153
Pages
272
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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