JOYCE, JAMES. Autograph letter signed ("James Joyce") TO ROBERT McALMON, Paris, 3 September 1921. 1 2/3 pages, 4to, on both sides of a sheet of Joyce's gray stationery with his street address printed in blue, nine small punch holes in left-hand margin.
A very fine letter. McAlmon, American expatriate short-story writer and publisher of Contact Edtions, had agreed to help his friend Joyce type the last fifty pages -- the Penelope section -- of the Ulysses manuscript (the book would be published some five months later, on 2 February 1922). By being less than painstaking with Joyce's complicated insertions in Molly Bloom's monologue, McAlmon "Won a small place, by accident, in the book's authorship" (Richard Ellman, James Joyce, New York, 1982, p. 514). Joyce writes: "...Since that collapse I have knocked off about 10 hours a day, work 6 and go walking...I send back your proof and the letter. Send on a few more stories [that McAlmon was writing], the ones the English printer boggled at [the stories were published as A Hasty Bunch in January 1922, the first Contact Editions book]...By the way the proof has many misprints. I didn't correct them as I thought you might have sent me a second copy. Proof is very trickly...
"I sent on that lot of Penelope to [Frank] Budgen...I have now written in a great lot of balderdash all over the damn book [Ulysses] and the first half is practically as it will appear. I shall give Molly another 2000 word spin, correct a few more episodes and write all over them and then begin to put the spectral penultimate Ithaca [section] into shape. Meanwhile walking along the Seine I look for some secluded spot where I may 'catch a hold of Bloom and throw him in the bloody sea'...I can take charge of that typewriter if you like but perhaps you want it or haven't you a portable one? Miss [Sylvia Beach] and Miss [Adrienne] Monnier are in the south...If you ever find anything relating to what I am doing throw it into an envelope and perhaps it will go into the stew. No more subscriptions for Ulysses. Only 4 or 5 last month..." (McAlmon himself, according to Hugh Ford's Published in Paris, was actually responsible for the largest number of subscriptions to Ulysses.) Printed in Letters, ed. R. Ellmann, vol. 3, p. 48 (with Brigham Young University given as the location, but it has been recently deaccessioned). For the copy of Ulysses that Joyce present to McAlmon, see the catalogue of Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc., James Joyce: Books & Manuscripts, New York, 1996, item 53.