September 2017

Clever, Very: Matthew Hayward

For this “Clever, Very” interview, Matthew Hayward spoke with us about his scholarship regarding the way in which Joyce collected information on commerce in his article, “‘Knowing Damn All About Banking Business’: Re-opening James Joyce’s ‘Notes on Business and Commerce’” which appears in the latest issue of the JJQ (52.3). Dr. Matthew Hayward is currently a Lecturer in Literature at the University of the South Pacific. 

James Joyce Quarterly: Your article, “‘Knowing Damn All About Banking Business’: Re-opening James Joyce’s ‘Notes on Business and Commerce’” relates to how Joyce found information on commerce and the ways he implemented it into his writings. Many of your past writings have also focused on aspects of advertising and business in Joyce’s work. Why does Joyce’s use of commercial culture and advertising strike you as particularly deserving of study and what motivated you to examine Joyce’s “Notes on Business and Commerce?”

Matthew Hayward: Consumerism is the biggest social shift of the modern period, and Ulysses is the first major novel to really reflect this shift. Critics have been saying this (with varying degrees of approval) since the 1920s, and there was of course a lot written on the subject in the 80s and 90s—so much that the subject seems exhausted. But I think we are still coming to terms with the complexity of Joyce’s representation. In particular, as critics in Ireland have been pointing out for some time, and as Andrew Gibson has argued so forcefully, the specifically Irish context of Joyce’s representation has been largely overlooked in international Joyce criticism, and this makes all the difference.

The more historically oriented work that we are seeing at the moment is helping us to appreciate the cultural specificity of Joyce’s work—not just in relation to consumerism, but for all the material contexts that he drew so carefully into his work. At the same time, this might restore what is most generally relevant in Joyce’s engagement with consumer culture. Joyce depicts an early consumerist economy whose center of production lies largely elsewhere, and in this respect he predicts the experience of many other societies in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

My motivation for reopening the ‘Notes on Business and Commerce’ was initially just to verify a few of the claims made by Mark Osteen in his early discussion of the ‘Advertising’ section in The Economy of ‘Ulysses’. In transcribing the notes—with a little help from my friend Ronan Crowley, now at the Centre for Manuscript Genetics at the University of Antwerp—I started to see some disparities between the received dating and the material itself. This led me into a hunt for the sources of each of the eight sections, and along the way I started to see that Joyce had made more use of these notes in Ulysses than had been recognized.

JJQ: One of the parts of your article which I found particularly interesting was your analysis of the method which Joyce employed while annotating his source material. What do you think we should take away from the consistency, or inconsistency, of Joyce’s research method?

MH: These notes hold a peculiar place in Joyce’s archival record, as they don’t seem to have been taken for the purposes of his fiction. This might be why they seem comparatively systematic. I understand from my genetic guru, Luca Crispi, that Joyce was generally not interested in comprehensively recording information from his sources, preferring to flick through with an eye for interesting turns of phrase. But as I say in the article, even in the ‘Notes on Business and Commerce’ Joyce follows a somewhat erratic method, skipping back and forth within his sources until he covers them fully. I gather that this restlessness is typical of Joyce’s method of annotation, so in that respect the notes are consistently inconsistent.

JJQ: Why do you think genetic criticism of Joyce’s notebooks and source material has continued to be so fruitful for scholars?

MH: To begin with, there is just so much to do. Merely transcribing and tracing the ‘Notes on Business and Commerce’ was several years of night shifts, and this is material that has been publicly available for forty years, with a few of the sources lying in plain sight online. Especially with the discovery of the NLI Manuscripts, there is just an incredible amount of material, and there is no telling how this will continue to change the way in which we think about Joyce’s creative process, as Luca’s recent book, Becoming the Blooms, shows. The fact that much of this material is freely available online, and that other contemporary material is being digitalized apace, means that much of this work can be done without the need for expensive research trips. So the ideal reader with the ideal insomnia can make amazing discoveries from her bedroom.

There is something very addictive about genetic work, whether that is in the study of Joyce’s adaptation of his notes and drafts in the various stages of composition, or in the tracing of sources. For me, it is fascinating in itself just looking under the hood and seeing how Joyce worked, and genetic scholarship has a practical and material basis that is very appealing to a certain type of critic. The greatest genetic scholars—Mike Groden, Walton Litz, Luca, Dirk Van Hulle, and others—are able to extrapolate from this material in ways that change how we read the texts themselves. But even for those of us with more modest gifts, I think that this kind of legwork will be valuable to Joyce scholarship, providing a sounder material basis for the interpretation of the author’s work.

JJQ: How do you see the future of criticism relating to Joyce’s use of commercial language developing?

MH: Would this be the time to mention that I’m working on a monograph on the subject, provisionally entitled Joyce in Business? Though since I live and work 10,000 miles from Dublin, this might take a while. But with the other more historically oriented work that is being done at the moment, I hope it will lead to a better understanding of the way in which Joyce’s writing relates to the material contexts within which he lived and worked. From there—who can say? As I’ve said before, I don’t see this kind of historical research as an end in itself, but more as the groundwork upon which more imaginative scholars can build.

This interview was conducted by Alex Barchet via email September 7-22, 2017.

Joyce in 100 Objects: How to Enjoy Ulysses

In 1920, Ulysses was effectively banned from publication in the United States when a New York court held that the serialized version then appearing in The Little Review was obscene.  For the next thirteen years, the book remained in limbo, until another New York court finally ruled it a piece of literature that was unlikely to corrupt the nation’s moral standards.  The plaintiff in that case was Bennett Cerf, the founder of Random House books.  He rushed from the courthouse to the printshop in order to produce what became the first legally published edition of Ulysses in the U.S.

The book already enjoyed the caché of scandal, but Cerf was nevertheless worried that despite all the fuss, readers would find it obscure or confusing–especially those who knew little of 1904 Dublin.  He thus prepared a variety of supplements and guides as part of an ambitious advertising plan.  These materials included How to Enjoy James Joyce’s Great Novel Ulysses, which included an overview and summary of the episodes, a map of Joyce’s beloved city, a handy list of main characters, and a few choice quotes from critics to assure dubious readers of the book’s merits.  This was one of the first guides to a novel that has now elicited hundreds of books aiming to teach us how to better enjoy Joyce’s masterpiece.

Front Cover of "How to Enjoy James Joyce's Ulysses"

The “Ulysses” Contest: A Creative Writing Competition

The “Ulysses” Contest:

A Creative Writing Competition Sponsored by the James Joyce Quarterly


In September 1906, James Joyce finished work on “Grace,” one of the very last stories he drafted for what would become Dubliners.  He then wrote to his brother Stanislaus that he was toying with an idea for one more tale.  This was not the collection’s now famous closing story, “The Dead,” but was instead a piece intriguingly titled “Ulysses.”  It would be based on a real Dubliner named Alfred H. Hunter, who was rumored to be Jewish and whose wife—variously named Margaret, Marian, or Marion—was allegedly cheating on him.  Joyce actively pressed his sources for information about Hunter and his family, but wrote to Stanislaus in 1907 that the story “never got any forrader than the title.”  No documentary evidence of such a story has been found.

The Challenge

The James Joyce Quarterly has decided that this gap in the record needs to be imaginatively filled.  We thus welcome submissions of short stories titled “Ulysses.” Entries must be set in turn-of-the-century Dublin and written in the style of the other pieces from Dubliners. Submissions should be no longer than 7,000 words in length. Only one contribution from an author will be considered. Entries should be submitted online and must be received no later than February 2, 2018. We welcome entries from around the world, but will only consider submissions in English.

The Prize

A panel of judges will select the top three stories, each of which will be published in the James Joyce Quarterly.  A winner will be selected to receive a prize of $500 for helping us imagine a way to fill this hole in the Joyce canon.  Please direct all inquiries to

Volume 52.3-4


The Energy of Modernity: The 2016 Boston Joyce Forum, Boston College, 12 November 2016
Fabrizio Ciccione


“Knowing Damn All About Banking Business”: Reopening James Joyce’s “Notes on Business and Commerce”
Matthew Hayward

“On Lifting the Lid of the Desk”: The Empty Spaces and Certain Circumstances of “A Painful Case”
Tim Cook

The “unfettered freedom” of “flying bats”: The Inoperative Community in James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Pilar Villar-Argáiz

“Unfallen but About to Fall”: The Influence of Byron’s “Cain” on Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Elizabeth Fredericks

The “Indecent Postures” of Island Cricket: James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and Joseph O’Neill’s “Netherland”
Maria McGarrity

Private Property, Public Interest: Bloom’s Ecological Fantasy in “Ithaca”
William J. Kupinse

A Bloom Without a Flower, or How to Read “Lotus Eaters”
Anna M. Finn

Sifted Science: James Joyce’s Reference to George Albert Wentworth and George Anthony Hill’s “A Textbook of Physics
Yi Jean Chow


William S. Brockman


The Picture Odyssey of Ben Bloom Elijah
Jonathan Morse

An Early Manuscript of “Tutto è Sciolto”
David Spurr

Spectral Grandfather
Andrew Borson


Penelope Says
Robert Berry


Joyce Smithy: A Curated Review of Joyce in Visual Art, Music, and Performance
Ollie Evans, Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, and Derek Pyle


Modernism and Homer: The Odysseys of H.D., James Joyce, Osip Mandelstam, and Ezra Pound, by Leah Culligan Flack
Kent Emerson

Virgil and Joyce: Nationalism and Imperialism in the “Aeneid andUlysses,” by Randall J. Pogorzelski
R. J. Schork

Israelites in Erin: Exodus, Revolution, & the Irish Revival, by Abby Bender
Marilyn Reizbaum

Irish Cosmopolitanism: Location and Dislocation in James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, and Samuel Beckett, by Nels Pearson
Allan Hepburn

Writing Modern Ireland, edited by Catherine E. Paul
Martha C. Carpentier

Romanian Joyce: From Hostility to Hospitality, by Arleen Ionescu
Ágota Márton

Finnegans Wake Libro Terzo, Capitoli 1 e 2 (Finnegans Wake III, 1-2), by James Joyce, translated and edited by Enrico Terrinoni and Fabio Pedone 
Franca Ruggieri



Marc A Mamigonian and John Turner