The James Joyce material at The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Special Collections is uniquely situated within the archives of a number of people whose interest, commitment, and effort made possible the work we are here to study and the creative life we are here to celebrate.  The great prose works, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake, and the poetry, are not the products of solitary genius.  The creative and practical labors of his many friends, patrons, publishers, readers and critics enabled and ensured the success of Joyce’s art.  The material on exhibit here is drawn from several unique collections, libraries and papers:  Harriet Shaw Weaver’s, Joyce’s unparalleled proponent; Lucie and Paul Léon’s, without whose friendship and assistance Joyce’s final work may never have appeared; Edmund Wilson’s and Cyril Connolly’s, two eminent literary critics; Rebecca West’s, Joyce’s distinguished contemporary; Ellsworth Mason’s, one of the first and most significant critics of Joyce’s early works; and finally Richard Ellmann’s, Joyce’s most influential critic, his biographer. 

This endeavor was a collaborative effort from the start.  Firstly, we would like to thank those in Tulsa who worked with us on this project:  above all, Lori Curtis, Head of Special Collections, without whose initiative, excitement and perseverance this exhibit could not have come about; Milissa Burkart, who designed and prepared the exhibit’s displays; Gina Minks, who produced the exhibit website; and Sean Latham, of the English Department and the James Joyce Quarterly, for making the exhibit a highlight of this year’s symposium; and Israel Lopez and Leslie Cairns of the Office of University Relations. 

We would especially like to thank our friends and colleagues who “volunteered” to read and comment on this project as it progressed:  Laura Barnes Weldon, New York and Dublin; Daniel Ferrer, Paris; Michael Groden, London, Ontario; Geert Lernout, Antwerp; Sam Slote, Buffalo; and Robert Spoo, Tulsa. 

Only because we knew we could check our work at another exemplary Joyce Collection were we confident enough to undertake an exhibit in Tulsa from the distance of Buffalo.  We would like to thank our colleagues there, Robert J. Bertholf, Curator; Michael Basinski, Associate Curator; and Dr. Melissa Banta, our fellow Joycean all at The Poetry/Rare Books Collection, University Libraries, State University of New York, University of Buffalo. 

In the past fifty years curators and librarians have accumulated, catalogued and are making digitally accessible a wealth of primary archival material.  It is the task of bibliographers and biographers, researchers and teachers in the next generation to interpret this vast archive and shed new light on Joyce’s modernity.  We hope this exhibit contributes to that endeavor. 

Luca Crispi & Stacey Herbert
Buffalo – Tulsa – Buffalo, 2003