Berenice Abbott (1898–1991)
James Joyce, 1928
Gelatin silver print
The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Sean and Mary Kelly, 2018; 2018.20
© Berenice Abbott via Getty Images


Hello. I’m Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library and Museum, and I am delighted to welcome you to One Hundred Years of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Set on one day, June 16 1904, James Joyce’s Ulysses follows the young poet Stephen Dedalus and the unlikely hero Leopold Bloom as they journey through Dublin. Ulysses is the preeminent modernist novel of the twentieth century, a literary masterpiece of epic proportions with daring innovations in subject matter, style, and structure. It expanded the limits of language and genre—and not without controversy. Censored and banned in America and England for obscenity, its publication in Paris a century ago was the catalyst for new legal standards of artistic freedom.

In the gallery you will explore Joyce’s trajectory from lyric poet to modernist genius, encountering the family who shaped him as a man and writer; key figures in his career including Sylvia Beach, Harriet Shaw Weaver, and Ezra Pound; and artists and authors who responded to the novel, such as Virginia Woolf, Henri Matisse, and Ralph Ellison. At the exhibition’s heart is Joyce’s profound imagination as he crafted Ulysses, explored in manuscripts, plans, and proofs, with major loans from some of world’s richest Joyce collections.

This presentation celebrates a significant gift to the Morgan by Sean and Mary Kelly, who over several decades accumulated one of the foremost Joyce collections in private hands. They hoped that their gift would help others appreciate the novel—that we would use it to guide readers through the intricacies of the text and show them its pleasures and rewards.

As you move through the gallery, look for the audio symbols to hear guest curator and acclaimed novelist Colm Tóibín speak about the people and places that inspired Ulysses.

Thank you for joining us at the Morgan. We hope you enjoy your visit.