Has James Joyce Been Set Free?
On New Year’s Eve, the Twitter feed of UbuWeb, an online archive of the avant garde, posted a link to an article in The Irish Times about the expiry of European copyright on the work of James Joyce. The link was accompanied by a curt message to Joyce’s grandson and sole living descendent: “Fuck you Stephen Joyce. EU copyright on James Joyce’s works ends at midnight.” While the language may have been unusually confrontational, the sentiment it expressed is widespread. The passage into public domain of Joyce’s major works has been talked up in certain quarters as though it were a bookish version of the destruction of the Death Star, with Stephen Joyce cast as a highbrow Darth Vader suddenly no longer in a position to breathe heavily down the necks of rebel Joyceans.