Bank of Ireland Mints 10,000 Coins Misquoting Joyce's 'Ulysses'

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Bank of Ireland Mints 10,000 Coins Misquoting Joyce's 'Ulysses'

Misquotes happen all the time — there've been some doozies over the years, some of which have made it into the popular psyche like Dorothy's alleged quote in The Wizard of Oz: "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto." (She actually says "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more.")

Still, most misquotations are rarely set in anything more permanent, until now. This week, the Bank of Ireland released a €10 (about $13) commemorative coin in honor of James Joyce's Ulysses, which includes a quote from the book on the back. And it's wrong by one word. The quote is from the third chapter and is taken from a scene where Stephen Dedalus, one of the main characters, walks along Sandymount Strand in Dublin.

The author himself had it that: "Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read …" The Central Bank included a wayward "that" in its final sentence, with its coin reading: "Signatures of all things that I am here to read."

They've minted 10,000 coins in the series and don't actually seem to think it's much of a problem. A statement released by the Bank states that "while the error is regretted, it should be noted that the coin is an artistic representation of the author and text and not intended as a literal representation". And they're not alone as Mark Traynor, manager of the James Joyce Centre, said the author "embraced errors", finishing up with

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".

Are misquotes necessarily evil? While the pedants might think so, I don't know. It was suggested that purists could scratch the offending word out with a penknife - and deface the currency at the same time. Who knows, maybe it'll make it more collectible.

Image of Ulysses
Author: James Joyce
Price: $18.99
Publisher: Simon & Brown (2013)
Binding: Paperback, 564 pages
Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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Michael Varian Daly's picture
Michael Varian Daly April 15, 2013 - 4:28am

Wankers.