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Appendix 1. Remarks on the National Library of Ireland’s Newly Acquired Joyce Manuscripts On May 30, 2002, The National Library of Ireland held a press conference in its Front Hall to announce its acquisition of a previously unknown collection of Joyce manuscripts. At the library’s request I read a short statement about the documents on that occasion, and I reprised it on June 18, 2002, as part of a plenary talk at the Eighteenth International James Joyce Symposium in Trieste. The text of those remarks follows. This is an incredible day for the National Library, for Ireland, and for lovers of James Joyce’s works and of literature everywhere. All at once, six of Joyce’s notebooks, sixteen drafts of Ulysses (any one of which would be a cause of excitement on its own), and some typescripts and proofs for Finnegans Wake— all completely unknown until now—become part of the National Library of Ireland’s collection. The National Library joins the ranks of the major collections of manuscripts of the works of Ireland’s greatest novelist. Writers themselves often cannot or will not speak directly about their creative processes, and Joyce was certainly no exception to this. But the notes, drafts, manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs for their works can speak, and, because they are less guarded than the writers might be, they can even take us closer to the creative process than might the writers’ own accounts. The documents can lead us into an area of literary research that sheds a unique and profound light on literature and on human creativity. Often preserved by the authors themselves, the pages can show us the words the authors wrote, those they eliminated or replaced, their false starts and new beginnings, their responses to mistakes the typists or printers made—all the ways the works 196 Appendix 1 moved from conception to completion. The documents can’t give us direct access to the mental activities that accompanied the writing, but, if the record is complete enough, they can provide incredibly valuable and fascinating evidence of creativity in action. James Joyce provides the best example we have in the English-speaking world of the excitement and value of an author’s manuscripts , and the manuscripts take us as close as we can get to Joyce at work. For over fifty years, we have had a huge amount of manuscript material for Joyce’s works, and collections have been established at the University at Buffalo ; Cornell, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton universities; the British Library; the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia; the Universities of Texas and Tulsa; and the National Library of Ireland. Some important documents, such as fair copies and proofs, survive for Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but from the start it was the materials for Ulysses and Finnegans Wake that were thrillingly voluminous. These papers allowed a detailed picture of Joyce at work to emerge. The notebooks revealed the sources he read and used in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake; the drafts showed the various episodes in gestation and development; and the later typescripts and proofs documented the unbelievable way Joyce built up the books by adding words and phrases to the typed and printed pages as they passed under his eyes—up to a third of the words in parts of Ulysses first entered the book in this way. Full as it was, the manuscript record was incomplete, but it allowed scholars to put together as detailed a picture of an artist in the process of creating a major work of Western culture as any record could be imagined to permit. For the most part, the existing Joyce collections were in place by 1960. No other major documents surfaced in almost forty years, and the record seemed fixed. Then, in 2000, a draft of the “Circe” episode of Ulysses came to light, and the National Library of Ireland purchased it. The next year, even more surprisingly , came a draft of the “Eumaeus” episode—hardly anyone knew this draft existed, and almost no one knows who bought it at auction. (I certainly don’t.) These two documents opened up the tantalizing possibility that yet more materials survived. Now, all at once, we are presented with two notebooks from Joyce’s early adult years, a few documents for Finnegans Wake, and, especially, four notebooks full of notes for Ulysses and sixteen drafts of Ulysses covering almost half (eight) of the book’s eighteen episodes. Once...

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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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