James Joyce’s grandson describes image on official commemorative coin as an ‘insult’
Stephen James Joyce says coin fiasco is typical of Ireland’s treatment of his family
James Joyce’s grandson has publicly condemned the coin produced by the Irish government to commemorate the celebrated author – and described it as an insult.
Stephen James Joyce is outraged by the image of his grandfather on the commemorative coin issued by Ireland’s Central Bank.
The coin sold out on Friday, just two days after 10,000 were issued.
Red faced government officials have already admitted that it contains an error in the quotation used from the third episode of Ulysses.
Now the writer’s grandson has also condemned the image of Joyce on the coin and blasted the authorities for failing to consult fully with the family.
Speaking to the Irish Independent newspaper, Joyce described the circumstances of the coin’s issuing as ‘one of the greatest insults to the Joyce family that has ever been perpetrated in Ireland’.
He also complained about a lack of consultation with him and the James Joyce estate by the Central Bank over the coin.
Stephen James Joyce said the first he heard of it was in a communication last September.
When he attempted to contact the person concerned it turned out he was no longer at the bank. He said another brief communication arrived in March, which contained no further information.
Joyce said: “Had I seen the coin, or an image of it, the error would have been spotted.
The report says he also expressed anger at the image of his grandfather on the coin, describing it as ‘the most unlikely likeness of Joyce ever produced’.
The paper says he cited photographs of Joyce taken by photographers such as Gisèle Freund and Berenice Abbott, and asked why these had not been used as models.
The grandson noted a further problem with the coin as it was issued on April 10th, the anniversary of the death of his grandmother, Nora Joyce. He described this decision as highly insensitive and offensive.
Joyce added that the bank’s behaviour over the coin formed part of a pattern of Irish mistreatment of the memory of James Joyce going back to the failure of the State to send any representative to his grandfather’s funeral in Zurich in 1941.
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