Joyce family split over error on new coin

Grand nephew says Dubliners are pleased to honour Joyce and proud of his writing

Robert Joyce, grand-nephew of James Joyce, has said his cousin Stephen James Joyce " is totally wrong" in the assertion that there was a "pattern of irish mistreatment of the memory of James Joyce" going back to 1941.

Yesterday Stephen James Joyce took issue with a commemorative coin featuring the image of James Joyce and text from Ulysses . He said an error in the text, a lack of resemblance of the image to that of his grandfather, and the circumstances of the coin's launch on April 10th - the anniversary of the death of his grandmother Nora Joyce, represented "one of the greatest insults to the Joyce family that has ever been perpetuated in Ireland".

But responding to the criticism, Robert Joyce, who is a grandson of James Joyce’s brother Charles, said he felt his cousin's allegation about mistreatment was "totally wrong".

Mr Robert Joyce said the image was a stylised artist's representation "not a photograph". He also said his grand-uncle was tolerant of errors and in the original publication of Ulysses in Paris in 1922 there were many transcription errors, yet James Joyce had been able to sign and dedicate editions for his family and his patron.


As a board member of the James Joyce centre, Robert Joyce also he said he was in a position to know that Dubliners were now "pleased to honour James Joyce and are proud of his writing".

He said since 1980 the James Joyce Centre had done " a lot of good work down the years in promoting James Joyce, including preparing an illustrated edition of Ulysses for publication on Bloomsday, June 16.

Stephen James Joyce had said the error was part of a pattern going back to 1941 and the failure of the State to send any representative to his grandfather's funeral in Zurich.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist