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'Knowing Damn All About Banking Business': Reopening James Joyce's 'Notes on Business and Commerce'

Hayward, Matthew C. (2017) 'Knowing Damn All About Banking Business': Reopening James Joyce's 'Notes on Business and Commerce'. James Joyce Quarterly, 52 (3/4). pp. 115-130. ISSN 0021-4183

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The notebooks cataloged as Cornell MSS 38 and 63 document offer a valuable record of Joyce’s research into a range of contemporary business practices: banking, commercial law, clerical work, insurance, the stock exchange, shipping, advertising, and trade. Although they have been widely available for nearly four decades, since they were published as the “Notes on Business and Commerce” in the James Joyce Archive, they have received almost no critical attention, not least because they have been incorrectly attributed to Joyce’s brief employment as a bank clerk in Rome in 1906–7. Presenting new evidence to correct the received dating, and identifying Joyce’s sources as a series of popular commercial guides published in London between 1909 and 1912, this article retrieves the “Notes on Business and Commerce” as a valid genetic archive. Establishing that Joyce took his notes at a crucial turning point in his literary career, and that he actively adapted this material for Ulysses, it opens up new ways of understanding Joyce’s incorporation of the commercial world into his writing.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Language, Arts and Media
Depositing User: Matthew Hayward
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 04:13
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2017 04:13

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