Just in time for Bloomsday, Bookninja links to an amusing New Yorker story that documents the grade-A ridiculosity of Stephen James Joyce, James Joyce’s grandson and only living descendant. The man who “since the mid-nineteen-eighties…has effectively controlled the Joyce estate” is prone to rejecting invitations to scholarly Joyce gatherings and then showing up anyway and demanding to be put on the program.
His aim, apparently, is to “question the value of academic criticism”: “if my grandfather was here, he would have died laughing” is his favourite catchphrase. At one symposium, he said that even Joyce’s most dense and tricksy works can be read and understood by any old Joe, and is careful to point out that he is a Joyce, not a Joycean, and that he must be addressed as Stephen James Joyce at all times.
While his cantankerousness and rampant sassmouth is good for a laugh (and gets him on the guest list of some conferences for the entertainment value), the story also documents his more troubling antics, too, such as his destroying precious Joyce documents and putting the kibosh (via legal action) on countless new editions, scholarly articles, and public Ulysses readings.
Check out the rest of the New Yorker story here