Collection of James Joyce papers available online

The National Library has made available papers owned by James Joyce Foundation in Zurich

James Joyce: Some of his documents were donated to the foundation by the late Hans Jahnke, the son of Giorgio’s second wife, Dr Asta Jahnke-Osterwalder, in 2006. Photograph: Getty

James Joyce: Some of his documents were donated to the foundation by the late Hans Jahnke, the son of Giorgio’s second wife, Dr Asta Jahnke-Osterwalder, in 2006. Photograph: Getty

Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 01:00

An important collection of material concerning James Joyce’s life and work has been made available online by the National Library of Ireland.

The collection is unusual for the personal nature of some of the documents included: it contains a number of manuscript drafts and proofs of Finnegans Wake, but it also covers several letters between Joyce and his son Giorgio and Giorgio’s wife Helen about such family matters as Joyce’s marriage, the illness of his daughter Lucia, and the nervous breakdown of Helen Joyce and her separation from Giorgio.

Donated

The documents are owned by the James Joyce Foundation, Zurich. They were donated to the foundation by the late Hans Jahnke, the son of Giorgio’s second wife, Dr Asta Jahnke-Osterwalder, in 2006.

The only stipulation was that the original documents, which would of course be highly valuable on the market, were never to be offered for sale or to leave the foundation’s possession.

The Zurich foundation has wanted for some time to place these materials online, but being a small operation has lacked the facilities to do so.

As a result, the foundation has collaborated with the National Library so that the library’s website is hosting the materials on behalf of the foundation. The library has considerable experience in such projects, having placed virtually its entire Joyce manuscript holdings online in 2012.

This is the first time that the library has been engaged in such a partnership project and the library’s acting director, Catherine Fahy, has welcomed the development.

A preliminary notice, before one can view the materials, makes it clear that they remain the property of the Zurich Foundation, are available for private use and study only, and cannot be reproduced without the prior written consent of the foundation.