James Joyce could not have written his works the way he did if he had not borrowed all the brains that he could, distributed in other books, articles, pamphlets and encyclopaedia. The Centre for Manuscript Genetics is fortunate to hold hundreds of these books, articles, pamphlets and encyclopaedia, along with books on Joyce criticism, in its Joyce Research Library. This one-of-a-kind collection was donated by Geert Lernout, former president of the International James Joyce Foundation and founder of the James Joyce Centre in Antwerp; Robbert-Jan Henkes, who has translated Joyce’s oeuvre into Dutch together with Erik Bindervoet; and Hans Walter Gabler, the main editor of the 1984 synoptic edition of Ulysses.
The Joyce Research Library holds a broad range of the books that Joyce was reading when he was writing his works. He amassed thousands of pages of notes, facsimiles of which can be consulted in the James Joyce Archive (1977-1979). Whereas Joyce copied some of these notes from works in his library with a clear purpose in mind, other notes were jotted down serendipitously. These notebooks not only hold notes on Joyce’s eclectic range of readings, they also aided him in the process of the piecemeal dispersion of notes into his drafts. The links between Joyce’s writing process, the books in his library, the reading notes he made, and the many manuscripts and typescripts that document his working process all form major components of the research that is conducted at the Centre for Manuscript Genetics.