Irish Ambassador to the US welcomed to Texas exhibition about James Joyce’s Ulysses

Image: Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall (left) and Dr Clare Hutton (right). Credit: Peter Smith

The Irish Ambassador to the United States has commended an exhibition which highlights the vital role the women in James Joyce’s life had in his masterwork, Ulysses.

Daniel Mulhall visited the showcase, held at The Harry Ransom Center, in Texas, on April 30.

The exhibition, Women and the Making of Joyce’s Ulysses, was curated by Dr Clare Hutton, a Reader in English and Digital Humanities at Loughborough University, and is supported by the Irish government’s department for Foreign Affairs.

It marks the 100th anniversary of Joyce’s landmark publication with more than 150 objects that bring to life the unacknowledged role of the women in his famed masterpiece.

Mr Mulhall was given a tour of the exhibits and later gave a lecture based on his recent book, Ulysses: A Reader’s Odyssey.

Dr Hutton also spoke to the assembly of invited guests and introduced the premiere of a 25-minute documentary entitled Remarkable Women: The Story of Ulysses which includes an interview with her about the thinking behind the exhibition.

Speaking after the event, she said: “I am honoured by the support of the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs.

“Even with Covid and the practical challenges which the pandemic has posed for work of this kind, the exhibition has been a pleasure to work on, and I am delighted that it is attracting so many visitors back to the Ransom Center after the prolonged closures of 2020 and 2021.

“I am also very pleased that the emphasis on underacknowledged female labour is proving to be so popular with visitors.”

Mr Mulhall, from Waterford, in Ireland, has been Ireland's Ambassador to the United States since August 2017.

He said: “In this year when we celebrate both the centenary of Joyce’s Ulysses and the foundation of the Irish state, it is wonderful to see the innovative way in which Joyce’s work is being celebrated.

“Women clearly played a formative role in helping Joyce to find a way forward.

“His publishers, Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap and Sylvia Beach, and Harriet Shaw Weaver were clearly crucial to the success of Ulysses.”

Dr Steve Enniss, Director of the Ransom Center, said: “It is an honour to be able to welcome Ambassador Mulhall to the HRC, home of an unrivalled Joyce collection, and a place which many researchers of the Irish literary tradition have visited in order to consult our outstanding collections and manuscripts.”

Ulysses is considered to be the most important book of the 20th century.

It was published by Sylvia Beach, owner of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, in Paris on February 2, 1922.

It chronicles an ordinary day in the life of the character Leopold Bloom in Dublin, on June 16, 1904.

The novel popularised stream-of-consciousness in modern fiction and was a major influence on later 20th-century writing.