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University of Texas at Austin

James Joyce:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator Joyce, James, 1882-1941
Title James Joyce Collection
Dates: 1899-1968
Extent: 11 document boxes (4.58 linear feet), 5 galley folders, 7 oversize flat files
Abstract Manuscripts and correspondence make up the bulk of the Collection. Part of the collection comprises original material, but most of the collection is material about Joyce, including research and criticism.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-02232
Language: English
Access: Open for research except for the Ulysses page proofs which can be circulated only to scholars having a specific and compelling need to consult the original proofs. A published facsimile of the page proofs of Ulysses is cataloged as part of the Ransom Center's Reference Collection and is available for patron use. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Centers' Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Purchases and gifts, 1965-1997 (R2390, R2738, R3529, R3732, R4102, R4591, R5077, R5251, R8842, R8845, R11542, R11922, R12027, R12505, R13490, G10713)
Processed by Sally M. Nichols, 1998

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

James Augustus Aloysius Joyce was born on February 2, 1882, in Rathgar, a borough of Dublin, Ireland, the eldest of ten children who survived infancy. In 1888 he was enrolled at Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school near Dublin, where he stayed until 1891. Thereafter he attended Belvedere College, and then University College, Dublin, where he graduated in 1902 with a major in Italian. While at UCD Joyce wrote a paper in defense of Henrik Ibsen's drama called "Drama and Life," which was suppressed by the college president on moral grounds.
James Joyce's father, John Stanislaus Joyce, was a Cork man who had inherited enough property to ensure a comfortable living from rents, but his alcoholism led to a seemingly endless series of disasters which drove the family to abject poverty by the time young Joyce was mature. His mother, Mary Jane Murray, died of cancer soon after Joyce graduated from university; Joyce's autobiographical counterpart Ulysses, Stephen Dedalus, is haunted by her memory. Young James was his father's favorite; he in turn seemed to forgive his father's weaknesses. Many of James Joyce's fictional characters and stories are indebted to his father's humorous stories of Dublin and its pubs.
After graduation Joyce went to Paris to study medicine, but he had neither the funds to matriculate nor to pay for adequate food and lodging. He made little progress in his medical studies because he used his time to read widely in literature in preparation for his serious commitment to art. He returned to Dublin to be with his dying mother, and for some time was at loose ends. In 1904, perhaps on June 16, the day that Ulysses takes place, Joyce eloped with a chamber maid from Galway named Nora Barnacle, eventually accepting a position as a teacher of English at the Berlitz School in Trieste. There two children were born to the couple, Giorgio in 1906 and Lucia in 1907. (Joyce and Nora were not to be formally wed until 1931.)
Joyce's published work began to appear in 1907 with his slim volume of verse Chamber Music. A number of his Dubliners stories first appeared in the Irish Homestead while George Russell (AE) was editor. After considerable trouble with publishers fearing censorship, Joyce finally saw Dubliners appear as a collection of stories in 1914. It was soon followed by A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in 1916, and his career as a writer was launched. He had captured the attention and admiration of other writers, including the influential Ezra Pound.
In 1918 he published Exiles. What secured for Joyce the attention and respect of the literati was the appearance in periodical form of Ulysses, for it was apparent that no literary work remotely like it had ever been published. It is often said that Joyce reinvented each genre as he wrote in it, but as yet there seemed to be no genre into which Ulysses could fit. In 1922 Ulysses was published by Sylvia Beach of the Parisian bookstore Shakespeare & Co. Ulysses, which reconstructs a day in the life of a modern-day Jew in Dublin, patterned after the adventures of an epic hero of Greece, was itself written by a wanderer; the book was begun in Zurich and finished in Paris by an author who spoke to his family in Italian, who in 1941 would be laid to rest in a Swiss cemetery.
Joyce had a love-hate relationship with his native city, but in his entire literary career he never really wrote about any other place. He often said that if Dublin were destroyed he could recreate it from memory, street by street and shop by shop. However, after his elopement in 1904 he never lived there again, and visited infrequently. In 1915 he took his family from Trieste to Zurich in anticipation of the outbreak of war, returning to live in Trieste briefly at the end of World War I. In 1920, at the urging of Pound, he moved with his family to Paris.
Soon after the publication of Ulysses, Joyce began work on his final literary work Finnegans Wake, by far his most experimental and perplexing. Though it was not published as a unified entity until 1939, sections of it appeared in periodical form under its provisional title Work in Progress. During these years Joyce suffered from ocular problems and other medical difficulties. He underwent surgery eleven times and was often quite blind. Shortly after the publication of Finnegans Wake, World War II broke out in Europe and the Joyces left Paris for the south of France while awaiting permission to again enter Switzerland. Three weeks after their arrival in Zurich, Joyce underwent surgery for peritonitis, caused by a perforated duodenal ulcer. He lapsed into a coma and died early on January 13, 1941. He is buried in Fluntern Cemetery in Zurich beneath a statue of him by the American sculptor Milton Hebald.


Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982).
Dictionary of Literary Biography, v. 36 (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Co., 1985).
Dictionary of Literary Biography, v. 162 (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Co., 1996).

Scope and Contents

Manuscripts and correspondence make up the bulk of the James Joyce Collection, 1899-1968. Part of the collection comprises original Joyce material, but most of the collection is material about Joyce, including research and criticism. The material, therefore, is organized into two series: I. James Joyce Writings and Correspondence, 1899-1958 (4.8 boxes), and II. Materials About Joyce and His Works, 1902-1968 (6.2 boxes). This collection was previously accessible only through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project.
Series I. is divided into three subseries. Subseries A. Works, consists of holograph drafts, typescripts, page proofs, printed pages, notes, and fragments of novels, poems, song lyrics, musical scores, limericks, and translations by Joyce. The Ransom Center has the complete and final first edition page proofs for Ulysses (1922), with the author's corrections and additions, as well as a typescript for the Ithaca episode, and page proofs of a translation into French by Auguste Morel. In the collection also are page proofs for Finnegans Wake (1939), including "Continuation of a Work in Progress," and "Tales Told of Shem and Shaun," and holograph drafts for Pomes Penyeach (1927), as well as other poems. Joyce provided the musical score for "Dark Rosaleen," and the text, from Finnegans Wake, for the musicals "May Song It Flourish" and "The Riverrun," and manuscripts for these works are present. A holograph draft of his translation into Italian of Riders to the Sea (1905) by J. M. Synge, is included here as well.
Subseries B. Correspondence, consists principally of letters regarding Joyce's literary work. Outgoing letters by Joyce were written to his London publisher Elkin Mathews, and Swiss publisher Daniel Brody; to editor Padraic Colum; to literary friends Richard Aldington, John Byrne, Edouard Dujardin, and Livia Veneziani Schmitz; to Irish tenor John Sullivan; to his Zurich pupil, Victor Sax; to his daughter Lucia Joyce, and to his aunt Josephine Murray. Incoming correspondence to Joyce amounts to three letters, from Maria Jolas, Al Laney, and G. Herbert Thring.
Subseries C. Personal Papers, consists of personal items relating to Joyce such as items withdrawn from books in his Trieste library, a receipt to him for the Swedish translation of The Dubliners (1931), two memoranda of agreement with Albatross Verlag and one with The Egoist, Ltd., and a report regarding an operation on Joyce's left eye by Dr. Alfred Vogt.
Series II. Materials About Joyce and His Works, consists of correspondence and manuscripts principally pertaining to Joyce. There are holograph drafts, typescripts, and galley proofs of James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses (1960), by Frank Budgen, as well as drafts of "James Joyce's Work in Progress and Old Norse Poetry,""Joyce's chapters of Going Forth by Day,""My Friend James Joyce," and "Further recollections of James Joyce."
John Francis Byrne is represented in this section with five holograph notebooks and galley proofs for his memoir Silent Years (1953), an address given at Cornell University in 1959, as well as numerous articles and a review of Richard Ellmann's James Joyce. Included also are four reviews of Silent Years, by Herbert Cahoon, Kuna Dolch, Richard Ellmann, and W. B. Ready. The extensive Byrne correspondence principally concerns Silent Years. Incoming letters to Byrne are from Robert Adams (of Cornell University), Sylvia Beach, Isabel MacGarry Crotty (an old friend), Richard Ellmann, Robert Giroux (of Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.), John Stanislaus Joyce, Lucia Joyce, and from several friends. There are also letters from Farrar, Straus & Young, Inc., and from authors Vivian Mercier, Francis and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, and Mabel Worthington, among others.
A typescript of a speech by Richard Ellmann, "James Joyce, Irish European," is here, as well as writings by Stuart Gilbert such as a biographical sketch on Joyce for the Dictionary of National Biography, page proofs for his James Joyce's Ulysses (1930), and a small folder of Joyceana. There are galley proofs for a review copy of My Brother's Keeper: James Joyce's Early Years (1958) by Stanislaus Joyce; numerous articles about Joyce or his writings by James Findlay Hendry, Helen Joyce, Lucie Leon, Josiah Mitchell Morse, Joseph Prescott, and Derek S. Savage, among others; transcriptions of radio broadcasts for the B.B.C. on Joyce by W. R. Rodgers and James Stephens; and musical scores for "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo" and "May Song It Flourish" by J. Willard Roosevelt. In addition to these writings referring to Joyce are several political articles by Francis and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington.
In addition to the letters already mentioned in this Series are letters from Byrne's wife, Gertrude, as well as letters from Sylvia Beach, Stuart Gilbert, Harriet Weaver, Edward Titus, Herbert Thring, and others.
For further information see Joyce at Texas: Essays on the James Joyce Materials at the Humanities Research Center by Dave Oliphant and Thomas Zigal, Austin, 1983, a complete issue of The Library Chronicle devoted to James Joyce. For information on the Trieste library see Catalogue of James Joyce's Trieste Library by Michael Gillespie, Austin, 1986. A published facsimile of the page proofs of Ulysses is available for patron use.

Related Material

Elsewhere in the Ransom Center are nine Vertical File folders which contain several maps of Ireland, postcards and articles about the Irish rebellion of 1916 and other related political matters, reviews and press notices of Joyce's works, exhibition catalogs, publishers advertisements, a wood block with type set for Ulysses, and articles and obituaries following Joyce's death. The Art Collection holds busts of Joyce by Sava Botzaris and Jo Davidson, as well as sculptures, paintings, and drawings by George Barker, Frank Budgen, Zdzislaw Czermanski, Desmond Harmsworth, Augustus John, Harry Kernoff, Wyndham Lewis, Ivan Opffer, A. L. Price, Louis Sargent, and Schoor. Several photos of Joyce can be found in the Photography Collection. The Ransom Center is also home to the 564 volumes from Joyce's Trieste library, formed between 1904 and 1920.
Other manuscripts and letters by Joyce can be found in the collections of Edouard Dujardin, Morris Ernst, Stuart Gilbert, Oliver St. John Gogarty, the James Joyce/Lake collection, Christopher Morley, PEN, John Rodker, Evelyn Scott, Maurice Saillet, and Thornton Wilder.
The Ransom Center also hosts The James Joyce Checklist on it's website at The checklist is a database of citations and links to publications relevant to Joyce in any language and in any medium, from the early twentieth century to the present.

Separated Material

Sound recordings were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recording collection and are described individually in a list at the end of this finding aid and in a searchable database.

Index Terms


Brody, Daniel
Brudgen, Frank, 1882-1971
Byrne, John Francis, 1880-
Ellmann, Richard, 1918-
Gilbert, Stuart
Schmitz, Livia (Veneziani), 1874-1957
Sheehy-Skeffington, Francis, 1878-1916
Sheehy-Skeffington, Hanna
Sullivan, John
Farrar, Straus and Young


Authors, Irish--20th century
Novelists, Irish--20th century
Ireland in literature

Document Types

Christmas cards
Financial records
Galley proofs

Folder List