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Joyce Collection travels to Buffalo library for Gaelic Games

James Joyce playing a guitar in Zurich. Photo: Courtesy of the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published July 19, 2017

“Joyce is widely recognized as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.”
James Maynard, curator
Poetry Collection

In honor of Buffalo being named host city for the Gaelic Games, the most popular sports tournament in Ireland, the UB Libraries is bringing the work and life of famed Irish author James Joyce to a wider audience.

Using materials from its James Joyce Collection, the world’s pre-eminent collection on the 20th century’s most influential and scrutinized writer, the UB Libraries is partnering with the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL) and state Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns to present an exhibition of original manuscripts, photographs, first editions and other memorabilia of the celebrated novelist.

An exhibition of images from the collection, which coincides with the 2017 Gaelic Games Association Continental Youth Championships, is on display at the Central Library at 1 Lafayette Square in downtown Buffalo through Aug. 5.

A limited viewing of Joyce’s handwritten notebooks that reveal the composition of his most prominent works — “Ulysses,” “Finnegans Wake” and “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” — will be on display July 26 and July 27.

The exhibition of original materials is free and open to the public during the Central Library's hours of 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday.

The Gaelic Games, a tournament of football and hurling competitions involving more than 3,000 youth athletes, will be held July 27-30 at the West Seneca Soccer Complex. The competition is expected to draw more than 18,000 visitors to Western New York and generate nearly $1.9 million in economic impact for the region, according to the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission.

James Joyce with American-born bookseller Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare and Company, Beach's bookstore in Paris. Photo: Courtesy of the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

However, well before the games, UB’s James Joyce Collection has for decades attracted people from every corner of the world to Buffalo to view and study one of the world’s greatest literary treasures.

“Joyce is widely recognized as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century,” says James Maynard, curator of the Poetry Collection in the UB Libraries.

Portrait of James Joyce taken in Bognar, Wales. Photo: Courtesy of the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

“Because the Poetry Collection’s James Joyce Collection is the largest and most distinguished Joyce collection in the world, the University at Buffalo has long been essential to Joyce studies, and over the years the collection has brought numerous scholars and students studying Joyce and his manuscripts from around the world to Buffalo as a cultural destination."

Adds B&ECPL Director Mary Jean Jakubowski: “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase one of the most celebrated authors of the 20th century. We are extremely pleased to share the cultural resources of the UB Libraries with a wider audience.”

The exhibition of original materials consists of several cases that share the history of how the Joyce materials came to Buffalo, provide a glimpse into the author’s personal and family life, and display manuscripts, notes and first-edition copies that provide insight into his most renowned novels.

Various photographs and memorabilia, including that author’s canes, eyeglasses and family crest, also are on display.

The James Joyce Collection is only one of 150 collections held in the Poetry Collection, but it remains among the UB Libraries’ most prominently studied materials. The collection spans Joyce’s entire artistic life and is home to more than 10,000 pages of the author’s drafts, proofs, letters and more, most of which only exist in Buffalo.