About the Estate - James Joyce Foundation
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About the Estate

Q: If I have decided to request permission to quote from Joyce’s work, from whom should I request that permission? 

Mr. Stephen James Joyce
Trustee, Estate of James Joyce
5, ruelle du Temple
F-17630 La Flotte-en-Ré

Mr. Seán Sweeney
Trustee, Estate of James Joyce
Raith House
County Mayo

Q: Should I write to Stephen James Joyce, to Seán Sweeney, or to both? 

It appears that the best practice, and the one most likely to speed the process, is to address the same request to both Mr. Joyce and Mr. Sweeney. As of this writing, both Mr. Sweeney and Mr. Joyce appear to be Trustees of the Estate.

Q: Does the Estate charge a standard fee for reprinting or quoting from Joyce texts? 

At times the Estate has invoked the following rates as standard, adding that it charges half the normal permissions fee for academic books. In practice, however, there appears to be wide variation, with occasional downward and more frequent upward adjustments.

10p per word (U.K.)
25¢ per word (U.S.)

£75 per 1,000 words (Society of Authors suggested minimum)

£7,000 sterling (U.K.) for substantial inclusion of Joyce’s works in an anthology

If the foregoing is not, or is no longer, the position or policy of the Estate, the International James Joyce Foundation welcomes corrections from the Estate or others.

Q: Are the royalty fees charged by the Estate negotiable? 

In several cases, the Estate has been willing to decrease its initial fee requests, particularly for scholarly quotation. At other times, however, the Estate has maintained a “take it or leave it” stance with respect to stated fees.

Q: What are the Estate’s criteria for granting or refusing permissions? 

In public statements, Stephen James Joyce or Seán Sweeney has made clear that the Estate’s priorities are to defend the letter, spirit, and integrity of James Joyce’s work; to encourage or permit interpretations and adaptations that conform to Joyce’s intentions; and to defend the privacy of the Joyce family. The concern for defending the family’s privacy has made the Estate reluctant, in many cases, to permit quotation from letters, particularly unpublished letters. Other criteria cited by the Estate from time to time as playing a role in its decisions include:

—whether the individual seeking permission has made past statements or gestures perceived to be contrary to the interests of the Estate
—whether the person seeking permission is associated with individuals, projects, or institutions the Estate feels has acted contrary to its interests
—whether a permission-seeker is seen to be making the request late in a project’s development, in the spirit of an afterthought
—whether the Estate “likes” an adaptor’s or scholar’s use of Joyce’s work.

Q: Given these criteria, what is the best manner in which to approach the Estate about a permissions request? 

Timing. There is, unfortunately, no simple answer to the question of how to time a request. On the one hand, approaching the Estate early in the development of a project prevents the applicant’s seeming to have treated permission as an afterthought or foregone conclusion. On the other hand, early negotiations with the Estate have in some cases ended up being protracted and complicated, with a written agreement repeatedly deferred and/or accompanied by conditions that have proven difficult for the applicant to accept.

Tone. Permissions-seekers who have met with the most success in the past have been polite but not fawning, respectful but not timorous, direct but not blunt. In formulating your request, you should consider positioning your project in respect to the Estate’s evident criteria—both explicit and implicit—as discussed above. Be advised, however, that none of these considerations guarantees a productive outcome.

Accuracy. The Estate appears to be keenly interested that Joyce’s works, including the works’ titles, be quoted accurately. If you reproduce the passage(s) you wish to quote in correspondence with the Estate—and in some cases the Estate has looked favorably on such highly specific requests—take care to quote passages and work titles (e.g., Pomes Penyeach, Finnegans Wake) accurately.

Q: From which editions of Joyce’s works has the Estate historically requested scholars and adaptors to quote? 

Dubliners: the corrected text, ed. Robert Scholes in consultation with Richard Ellmann. London: Jonathan Cape, 1967. (This edition was also published in New York by Viking Press, 1967.)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: the definitive text, corrected from the Dublin holograph by Chester G. Anderson and edited by Richard Ellmann. New York: Viking Press, 1964.

Ulysses: the first edition, Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922, plus the list of errata dated October 1922; alternatively, a facsimile of the first edition (e.g., Oxford University Press’s World’s Classics series, a facsimile of first edition copy 785); the Folio Society 1998 reproduction of the 1926 edition; or the 1932 Odyssey Press edition.

Finnegans Wake: a post-World War II edition incorporating corrections made by Joyce and Paul Léon during summer 1940 in Saint-Gérand-le-Puy.

Q: Where?

Updated April 2012