A Life with Joyce

Filed under: Biography

Tom Staley discusses his life studying James Joyce


It was the Jesuits who first led Tom Staley to the great apostate, James Joyce. As Staley began to read Ulysses, he felt that everything he had ever learned before had been in preparation for the study of this man’s work. He was soon to learn that, just when you think you understand a novel, a page, or even a passage by Joyce, your certainty fades like a shimmering mirage. Staley, who is Director of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Texas, has written extensively about Joyce, and was the founding editor of the James Joyce Quarterlyand Joyce Studies Annual. The Joyce trail has led him around the world: to Dublin a dozen times; to Paris; and to Trieste, where Dubliners was completed, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man written, and Ulysses begun. He reflects on these journeys, his studies, and his enduring passion for the genius of Joyce. Chaired by Roy Foster.

 Recorded on Monday 10 October 2005.

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Roy Foster 1992