The National Library of Ireland has partnered with the Zurich James Joyce Foundation to put a previously inaccessible collection of papers, manuscripts, and personal documents by and about James Joyce online, now publicly available here. The archive includes:
Letters of a personal nature to Joyce’s son Giorgio, daughter-in-law Helen, and Georgio and Helen concerning everyday matters such as health and weather, offers from publishers as well as Lucia Joyce and her illness. Joyce’s marriage to Nora Barnacle in London and the Frankfurter Zeitung affair are also addressed. There are also some letters to Joyce’s grandson, Stephen, and to the Joyce family in general. Papers on Joyce’s work consist of notes and galley proofs from Finnegans Wake and one sheet from a fair copy of the Circe episode from Ulysses, fair copies of poems from Pomes Penyeach as well as other autographs and typescripts.
The Zurich James Joyce Foundation “was established in 1985 with a view to keeping alive the memory and work of the Irish writer James Joyce for the literary world in general, and above all for Zurich, where he spent some important creative years and where he died.” The archive just put online formed the Hans E. Jahnke Bequest, given to the Foundation in 2006 by Hans E. Jahnke, James Joyce’s grandson. The Foundation lacked the resources to put the archive online until now, and although the National Library of Ireland has made the new online archive possible, the documents remain the property of the Foundation, in line with the terms of the original bequest.
The editing and publication of successive versions of Joyce’s masterworks has a long and controversial history of its own. It’ll be interesting to see if the new archive leads to any new insights or revisions.