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    Sale 1922

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    3 December 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 504

    JOYCE, James (1882-1941). Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922.

    Price Realised  


    JOYCE, James (1882-1941). Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922.

    4o. Original "Greek flag" blue printed wrappers, uncut and unopened; GLASSINE WRAPPER (a few insignificant chips to spine and joints, otherwise very fine); quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: Henry Colgate, 1927 (a letter to Paul Chadourne, Librairie de l'Etoile, laid in).

    FIRST EDITION, LIMITED ISSUE, number 676 of 750 copies on handmade paper from an edition of 1,000.


    The impact of Joyce's Ulysses was revolutionary in its own time, and the book continues to stand as the single most significant English language novel of the last century. The complexities of its formal structure, its linguistic inventiveness and its imaginitive cohesion of historical sources have made Ulysses the most diligently studied work of modern literature in English. Cyril Connolly, while criticizing Joyce's "preference for language rather than people," nevertheless could not reject the novel's immense intellectual weight: "somehow it does acheive greatness like a ruined temple soaring from a jungle -- and should be judged perhaps as a poem, a festival of the imagination."
    The publication of Ulysses was a trying experience for its author, and no less so than the difficulties endured while writing it. Early manuscripts of the novel show Joyce beginning to move beyond the more formally traditional work represented in his Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and towards his mature style. Introduced to Harriet Shaw Weaver by Ezra Pound, Joyce first hoped to publish the novel serially in her journal The Egoist, but legal problems in England and America (resulting from the novel's presumed obsene content) halted this plan. Sylvia Beach of the Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris intervened at this seemingly desperate stage and Ulysses, published under her imprint, was revived for publication.

    The first printing consisted of 1,000 copies, divided into three various limitations. The first 100 copies were printed on fine handmade paper, numbered 1-100, and signed by Joyce. Copies 101-250 were also printed on handmade paper, though of a lesser grade than the first 100, and were not signed by Joyce. The final 750 copies--as here--were numbered 251-1,000, printed on the least expensive stock of paper, and like the previous limitation, were not signed by Joyce.

    The book was scheduled for publication on February 2, 1922, Joyce's fortieth birthday, but because of technical problems with printing the cover (which he wished to match in color the blue of the Greek flag), only 2 copies were ready by that date. Joyce expressed his appreciation for the book in a note to Beach: "I cannot let today pass without thanking you for all the trouble and worry you have given yourself about my book during the last year." Beach later wrote of their respective celebratory moods: "Here at last was Ulysses, in a Greek blue jacket, bearing the title and the author's name in white letters. Here were the seven hundred and thirty-two pages 'complete as written', and an average of one to half a dozen typographical errors per page." Soon after publication Joyce gathered together a list of errata. It was by no means complete.

    See Sylvia Beach, Shakespeare and Company, London, 1959. Connolly, The Modern Movement 42; Slocum & Cahoon A17. A VERY FINE COPY.

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    Pre-Lot Text