A prolific correspondent, James Joyce saved much of what he wrote. His letters document his first experiences away from home in 1902–1903, his first meeting and courtship with Nora Barnacle beginning in 1904, his financial struggles, and his personal and professional relationships throughout his lifetime. Variously frank, cantankerous, pleading, terse, lyrical, confident, and despairing, Joyces letters offer a revealing window into his complex and contradictory mental landscape. Cornells Joyce Collection contains 334 of his letters, and nearly 900 letters to Joyce from friends, publishers, writers, agents, and family members.
Joyce left Dublin for Paris at the age of twenty-one on December 1, 1902. He considered his departure a step towards moral and artistic independence, but he nonetheless maintained an anxious correspondence with his family back in Ireland. His letters boast of plans and new experiences, while seeking approval and support. Joyces first stay abroad, ostensibly to study at the École de Médecine of the University of Paris, was short lived. He was in Paris only two weeks before asking his mother whether he should come home for Christmas. He set sail for Dublin on December 22, and spent a month there before again returning to Paris on January 21, 1903.
Items Exhibited in the Letters Home Section
James Joyce at the time of his Graduation from University College, Dublin. 1902.
James Joyce. Letter to Stanislaus Joyce. February 8, 1903.
James Joyce. Letter to John Joyce. February 26, 1903.
James Joyce. Letter to Mary Jane Joyce. February 21, 1903.
Nora Joyce. Zurich, ca. 1920. [view]
James Joyce. Letter to Nora Joyce. Ca. July, 1904.
James Joyce. Letter to Nora Joyce. August 15, 1904.
Nora Joyce. Letter to James Joyce. August 16, 1904.
Mary Kathleen (Joyce) Monaghan. Letter to James Joyce. March 29, 1909.
James Joyce. Letter To Nora Joyce. August 26, 1909.
John S. Joyce. Letter to James Joyce. September 11, 1916.