The Antwerp James Joyce Centre was founded at
the University of Antwerp in 1991, with two main objectives.
On the one hand, we are interested in all aspects of the study of Joyce's
work, specifically from a genetic point of view, and have established close
working relationships with many Joyce centres and individual scholars across the world. On the
other hand, closer to home, we try to increase awareness of and generate
enthusiasm for Joyce's work in the Dutch-speaking world.
The main long-term project of our genetic component is a new, fully
integrated and cross-referenced edition of The Finnegans Wake Notebooks
edited by Geert Lernout, Vincent Deane, and Daniel Ferrer.
The first volume was published by Brepols in the Summer of 2001.
major international project was a book on the (critical) reception of
work in European literatures, in cooperation with the School of
Study at the University of London, edited by Geert Lernout and Wim Van
Mierlo and published by Continuum Press
in 2002. Both projects have received very favourably reviews. Geert
Lernout is also working on a book about Joyce's cooperation with others
in writing and on a book about Joyce and religion.
Dirk Van Hulle has published a book on the role of Joyce's
(and other modernists') works in the history of editing with the
University of Michigan and he has written several articles and a book
in Dutch on genetic literary theory and manuscript study in general. He
recently completed a book on manuscripts genetics and the writing
methods of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett.
The Joyce Center has also been a clearing
house for young academics. Wim Van Mierlo moved from Antwerp to get his
doctorate at the University of Miami: he is currently working for the
School of English Studies at the University of London. Inge Landuyt
successfully defended a dissertation in Antwerp on Joyce's early work
on Finnegans Wake. Sam Slote wrote part of his dissertation
on the poetics of silence in Dante, Mallarmé, and Joyce at the Center,
graciously designing the first version of its website and compiling a bibliography
of genetic Joyce studies in the meantime: Bibliography
of Genetic Joyce. He now lectures in Joyce and literary theory at Trinity College, Dublin.
Gert Morreel defended his dissertation on (fictional and
non-fictional) encyclopedic projects between the two world wars in 2006
and he is currently doing post-graduate work at the University of
Antwerp. Katrien Van Herbruggen created an electronic time-line for the
early history of Finnegans Wake, with a detailed account of Joyce's
work on the Buffalo Notebooks.
Over the years several young Joyce critics have come from
England and the United States to spend periods of up to two years at
the Centre: Andrew Treip, Sam Slote, Chris Eagle, Robert Fulton.
The Joyce Centre has organized several conferences on
genetic Joyce studies and coordinated quite a number of sessions at
Joyce symposiums: the most important conferences were "Genitricksling
Joyce" (May 1997), the proceedings of which were published by Rodopi
in 1999, and "Genetic Networks" (December
1998). In March 2001, we hosted two more: "James
Joyce in European literatures" (March 26, 27) featured contributors
to a book on the reception of Joyce in Europe. "Genetic Joyce Studies" gathered many of the genetic critics working on Joyce's notebooks,
some of whom will demonstrated new electronic means of presenting the complex
genetic circuitry of Joyce's work.
Joyce in Belgium and the Netherlands
The second important task of the Joyce Centre is to spread the word
about Joyce in the Dutch-speaking world. We keep our eyes open for Joyce-sightings
in our own backyard and offer advice to translators, to people working
with Joyce on stage or in music, and to anyone else who needs our help.
Geert Lernout translated Exiles for the Kaaitheater in 1993 and we have
a close working relationship with the Dutch tranlators of Finnegans
Wake, Robert-Jan Henkes and Erik Bindervoet, who published the
fruits of their titanic labor in 2004, with Querido. The Centre also organizes
lectures on Joyce's work and its members publish articles in Dutch, in
both the popular and academic press.
To keep Joyceans in Belgium and The
Netherlands informed about our activities, we used to publish a newsletter in Dutch,
the Gnantwerp Gazette, named after a passage in Richard Ellmann's
biography on Joyce's stay in Antwerp: "He went on with his family to Antwerp,
which he renamed Gnantwerp, because of the mosquitoes."
The James Joyce Centre could not do what it does without the enthusiastic
help of students and other volunteers. The most tireless of our non-academic
contributors has been Liesbeth van Gool, who hosted a Finnegans Wake reading
group in Antwerp and who has talked about Joyce's work on national radio.
In addition, the Centre can count on assistance
from students at the University of Antwerp, who help us to transcribe
materials and enter electronic data, both during the academic year and
in intensive summer projects.