The Dublin Ulysses Papers by jjqblog
April 6, 2012, 10:24 AM
Filed under: Publications

The House of Breathings has just announced the publication of a six-volume edition of the papers and notebooks for Ulysses held by the National Library of Ireland.  Edited and annotated by Danis Rose, this collection includes several notebooks for Ulysses as well as drafts of some of the major episodes including “Cyclops,” “Sirens,” and “Circe” among others.  Much (though not all) of this material came from the Alexis Léon papers purchased by the NLI in 2002.  The individual volumes themselves are relatively expensive, ranging between $100 and $330 individually, or $1060 for the entire set.

Rose offers a detailed explanation for his decision to bring these notebooks out now including an extended comment on their copyright status.  As he notes (and as JJQ’s Copyrights Editor recently pointed out to me), there is a strange wrinkle in EU copyright law: when a previously unpublished work enters the public domain, the first person to publish it gains a new copyright of twenty-five years in the material.  This means that when these notebooks appear, Rose will own this EU copyright.  (The provision and thus this copyright does not exist in US law.)  After describing this situation, Rose writes that he wants to assure open access to these works and thus  “I will make over to the Irish State such rights in the Joyce text in the Ulysses documents that I have acquired.”  His own annotations and editorial matter, of course, are not covered by such a promised license.

We clearly find ourselves in exhilarating if uncertain times as Joyce’s published and unpublished works fall unevenly into a patchwork public domain that varies widely across national borders.  For the moment, I happily greet the arrival of this publication and hope that all institutions and rights holders endeavor to make Joyce’s published and unpublished works widely available to a global audience of teachers, critics, scholars, and readers.

JJQ has requested review copies from the House of Breathings and hope to publish a full review essay as soon as we can.


2 Comments so far
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Dear JJQ, As these materials belong to the Irish State and are among the holdings of the National Library of Ireland, they should be published as the NLI thinks fit. Joyce deserves better than the House of Breathings and the efforts of a one-man band called Danis Rose. In this digital age this material should be available to us all – and not at a price of over one thousand dollars. The JJQ should not be applauding this initiative.
In any case, as of tonight it seems the NLI is going to publish its materials on line within the next few months. Their press release reads:
The National Library of Ireland is delighted to announce that as part of our ongoing catalogue development programme, coupled with a parallel initiative to put our collections online, that we are proceeding with Phase One of plans to provide the widest possible access to a number of James Joyce manuscripts. These plans will make the treasures of the National Library, which we hold in trust for the nation, available to all Irish citizens and lovers of Irish culture throughout the entire world.

As of 10 April 2012, James Joyce manuscripts acquired by the NLI since 2000 can now be viewed via the NLI online catalogue. To access the catalogue click here.

The manuscripts will be available on our website in very high-resolution formats from 16 June 2012 – to coincide with Bloomsday and the XXIII International James Joyce Symposium.

In the meantime, a designated NLI team is in the process of developing new image- viewing software as part of the roll-out of our digital repository, which is designed to ensure that on-line images of the James Joyce manuscripts can be researched in minute detail by NLI website visitors. This will guarantee an experience as good as a personal visit to view the manuscripts at the NLI Reading Room in Dublin.

Other material from the NLI’s rich resources will also be coming on stream this year. Details to be announced in the coming months.

Comment by John McCourt

Dear JJQ, In clarification of the issue and in response to two articles by Terence Killeen published in the Irish Times 12 April 2012 issue, I would like to draw your attention to my Letter to the Editor: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/2012/0417/1224314821844.html
-Danis Rose

Comment by joycemanuscriptsdublin

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