How American author Jim Tully meets James Joyce in Paris in 1929: paper trail to Paris

How American author Jim Tully meets James Joyce in Paris in 1929: paper trail to Paris.

Researchers Linda McKee and Deborah W Walk mined Irish author James Joyce’s last personal library of documents, found an interesting note, and followed their instinct and interest, which resulted in their book, James Joyce and Jim Tully, The Paris Meeting, 1929.

Joyce’s last personal library of over 400 titles, taken safely from Paris by his wife Nora and son Giorgio in 1948-49, eight years after Joyce’s death in 1941, was bought by Margaretta Fryer Wickser from Buffalo, New York, and archived at the Lockwood Memorial Library of the University at Buffalo.  

The researchers found a note that intrigued them. Jim Tully’s note read:

To James Joyce, From one who one is proud to be his countryman, Jim Tully Paris – 1929.”

So, how did American author Jim Tully meet James Joyce in Paris in 1929? Researchers McKee and Walk follow the paper trail to Paris. 

James Joyce (1882-1941) and Jim Tully (1886-1947) were contemporaries. Joyce, born in Ireland, and Tully, an Irish immigrant living in Ohio, America, had much in common: poetry, pugilism, poverty in childhood, and public acclaim in literature in the 1920s and 1930s. They both ran foul of American literary censors. 

Joyce was itinerant across countries and Tully drifted across America as a ‘road kid.’ But there were differences: Joyce always wrote about his hometown Dublin and Tully wrote about life on the road. Joyce wrote few books and Tully was a prolific writer. Joyce moaned that he never had enough money and Tully was highly paid. 

Meeting together in Paris in 1929, Joyce was 47 years old and Tully was 43 – both had written their greatest works: Joyce’s Ulysses published in 1922 and Tully’s Beggars of Life published in 1924. They both had great works yet to be written: Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939) and Tully’s The Bruiser (1936). 

McKee and Walk have written a well-researched, interesting, and easy-to-read softcover book about the Paris meeting in 1929 of James Joyce and Jim Tully. It is extremely well presented with many colour photographs of their productive paper trail. 

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