Significant new Yeats and Joyce material acquired by the NLI

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, announced (16-02-2017) that she has approved extra funding of more than €500,000 to the National Library of Ireland (NLI) for the acquisition of a significant number of manuscripts from the family of WB Yeats, including a collection of 10 signed letters and a postcard to WB Yeats from James Joyce. The collection was unveiled at a special reception at the NLI attended by Minister Humphreys and members of the Yeats family.

The highlight of the new acquisition is the collection of letters to Yeats from Joyce, an exceptional series discussing Joyce’s literary work including Exiles, Dubliners and Ulysses and also discussing Yeats's work.  The letters span almost 24 years of correspondence and illuminate a deep literary friendship; in one of the last of the letters Joyce expresses his gratitude to Yeats as ‘it is now thirty years since you first held out to me your helping hand.’

The second key element of the acquisition is the ‘Dream Diary’ of Yeats’s wife George. It lists dates, times, and location of sleeps with detailed accounts of her dreams, also with other spiritualist notes and related diagrams.  The acquisition also includes the Yeats family library which will join WB Yeats’s personal library, already at the NLI. Included are books treasured by several generations of the Yeats family as well as a significant collection of Cuala Press material.

Read the full press release here.

Further details of the Dream Diary of George Yeats and the letters from James Joyce to WB Yeats are available on the Library's online catalogue:

-  Dream diary of George Yeats, 1920-1921. MS 42,432

- Collection of letters from James Joyce to WB Yeats, with typescript copies, 1902-1936. MS 50,32  

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