Jim Henry - A lifetime's odyssey

The Translation of Ulysses

Jim combined a love for his native language with a fascination with the work of James Joyce to produce Irish translations of Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and The Dead. 

His early retirement meant he had the time to pursue this interest.

The Translation

Encouragement from home and abroad

Stephen Joyce mightn’t have given his blessing to the project but international scholars were enthusiastic about the “Herculean task.”

Fritz Senn of the James Joyce Foundation in Zurich corresponded regularly with Jim.

The institute at Zurich invited Jim to address them in the early 90s but at that stage his wife May was not well and he did not want to leave her.

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Canisius College, Buffalo are among the American  universities that not only knew of the translation but were enthusiastic about it and several lecturers who visited Ireland came to Belfast to see Jim. Dr Richard Thompson from Canisius College and his wife came to his home on Fitzwilliam Avenue in Belfast.

Dr Richard Thompson’s son Brendan continues to take an interest in the work and has written articles about the translation of Ulysses.

Several Joyce scholars in Ireland encouraged Jim in his work eg, Professor Alan Titley wrote in praise of the translation describing it as “…one of the finer achievements of Irish prose…”

In 1995, Jim was invited to an Irish Evening in the Joyce Centre in Dublin. He gave a presentation on his translation and was well received. Afterwards, Ken Monaghan, founder of the Centre and nephew of James Joyce wrote and thanked him and he was greatly encouraged by this.

Swiss Letter from James Joyce Foundation in Zurich
Sr Sheila, Jim and Dr Richard Thompson, on right.
Niagra Falls - Jim and cousin Phelim Gaughan