Obituary: Thomas F. Staley, US professor and literary scholar who was a major figure in Joyce’s world


the death of dr Thomas F. Staley at the age of 86 came after a high-profile career in which he made a major contribution to literary scholarship, particularly as it relates to the works of James Joyce.

We have also built up a vast archive of important papers and other material from figures as diverse as Norman Mailer, Graham Greene and the others Washington Post Journalists behind the Watergate exposé, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

dr Staley founded the James Joyce Quarterly, the leading Joyce study journal, in 1963 and remained its editor for 25 years. He was also instrumental in founding the International James Joyce Foundation, which organized the biannual Joyce Symposium, the first of which was held in Dublin in 1967 and attended by the writer’s son, Giorgio.

A later symposium was held in 1973 at Newman House in St Stephen’s Green, a building Joyce himself had visited in college. Among the guests were Carola Giedion-Welcker, who knew Joyce from his time in Zurich, and Maria Jolas, who was closely associated with the writer and his family in Paris.

Speakers included Conor Cruise O’Brien, who was Secretary of State for Posts and Telegraphs at the time. The program included a visit to Joyce Tower in Sandycove on Bloomsday, June 16, the date Joyce’s novel was published Ulysses and a tour of Clongowes Wood College, where the writer was a student for a time.

Thomas Fabian Staley was born on August 13, 1935 in Pittsburgh and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Regis College in Denver, Colorado in 1957 and a master’s degree from the University of Tulsa the following year. He received his doctorate in 1962 from the University of Pittsburgh with a dissertation on the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

He taught at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida for a year before working at the University of Tulsa for the next 25 years. There he founded the flagship quarterly magazine on Joyce and wrote or edited books on various writers.

He also acquired literary collections for the university’s McFarlin Library, including those of the critic Edmund Wilson and the renowned Joyce biographer Richard Ellmann. After being appointed director of the Harry Ransom Center, a literary archive at the University of Texas at Austin, in 1988, he bought the archives from Joyce’s translator and friend Stuart Gilbert. It was later reported that the papers contained an unexpected additional treasure: Joyce’s handwritten edits of the first chapter of Finnegans Wake.

Over the next 25 years he acquired the papers of more than a hundred literary luminaries as well as the archives of godfather and taxi driver Actor Robert DeNiro.

While visiting the Connecticut home of playwright Arthur Miller, Staley learned that a box that the author of death of a seller thought was filled with roofing nails, actually contained important notebooks and a short story.

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Professor Robert Graalman, a former student of Dr. Staley said last week, “Who can doubt that the pursuit and acquisition of manuscripts has motivated and satisfied him to ensure that vital information about our cultural icons and their creations is available to future generations.”

Irish journalist and Joyce Fellow Terence Killeen expressed his sadness at the death of Dr. Staley testified on March 29, saying, “He was a key figure in the development of the Joyce Studies and laid the foundation for their continued development.”

Tributes were also made by independent Senator and Joyce specialist David Norris and by the author of The Ulysses Guide and curator of the Museum at Joyce Tower in Sandycove, Robert Nicholson.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/book-news/obituary-thomas-f-staley-us-professor-and-literary-scholar-who-was-a-major-figure-in-joycean-world-41603753.html Obituary: Thomas F. Staley, US professor and literary scholar who was a major figure in Joyce’s world

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