Ireland’s Central Bank Issues Commemorative Coin to Celebrate James Joyce’s Ulysses, Misquotes the Text
The bank inserted an extra word (“that”) into a sentence taken from Ulysses. Not the biggest error, but still.
“While the error is regretted,” the bank said in a statement, “it should be noted that the coin is an artistic representation of the author and text and not intended as a literal representation.”
Meantime, some Joyce scholars think its fun. Via the Guardian:
Mark Traynor, manager of the James Joyce Centre, which is dedicated to promoting the author’s life and work, called the slip-up “unfortunate”, but said there was “certainly a humorous side to it too (no ‘flip side of the coin’ pun intended)”.
“For one thing, Joyce was an author who embraced errors. As Stephen remarks in Ulysses, ‘A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery’,” said Traynor. “So if there is any value in the little mistake by the minters it is that it has bred a new, unexpected narrative. What should have been a fairly mundane launch of a commemorative coin has suddenly reached a much wider audience than expected.”
It also just goes to show, Traynor added, “that – even after the cessation of copyright on Joyce’s major works – you still can’t reproduce a couple of sentences without causing a bit of scandal”.
Image: Front and back of the Ulysses commemorative coin.