JOYCE, James. Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922.
4o. Original "Greek flag" blue printed wrappers, uncut (very skilfully rebacked to match, 3-inch closed tear at bottom of front cover neatly repaired on verso).
Provenance: Lewis Galantière (1895-1977), American writer and playwright (presentation inscription; marginal markings; some underlinings and annotations in pencil and ink in the text; holograph notes on the book, 2 pages, 8o, laid-in; sold by him to:) Phoenix Book Shop (sold on 19 March 1975 to:) James Hughes (bequested to:) Anonymous owner (sold Christie's New York, 9 June 1992, lot 100).
FIRST EDITION, LIMITED ISSUE, number 282 of 750 copies on handmade paper from an edition of 1,000.
OTHER THAN THE COPY INSCRIBED TO HIS WIFE NORA, THIS IS THE EARLIEST KNOWN PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY JOYCE--JUST NINE DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION--TO LEWIS GALANTIÈRE on the half-title: "To Lewis Galantière James Joyce Paris 11 February 1922."
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 (see next lot). 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. Sylvia Beach had made a special request from the printer, Maurice Darantiére, that these copies be ready on this date: "I asked him if he would please do what was impossible--have at least one copy of Ulysses to put in Joyce's hands on his birthday." While making no promises, 2 copies were delivered the next day by train from his shop in Dijon. Beach wrote: "I was on the platform, my heart going like a locomotive, as the train from Dijon came slowly to a standstill and I saw the guard getting off, holding a parcel and looking around for someone--me. In a few minutes, I was ringing the doorbell at the Joyces' and handing them Copy No. 1 of Ulysses. It was February 2, 1922." She reserved the second copy for Shakespeare and Company and created a stir in Paris by placing the book immediately in the shop window. The unexpected que of subscribers forced her to remove the display, and distribution was further delayed by a slight mistake with the printing of the cover. A week after publication, less than fifty copies had arrived. (See Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, New York, 1959, p.539).
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."
ONLY ONE EARLIER PRESENTATION COPY IS RECORDED. The copy given by Beach to Joyce on 2 February was inscribed to his wife Nora and is the only presentation copy known which predates the present one. This copy for Galantière predates by 3 days the copy of the one of 750 issue inscribed to Robert McAlmon, the American writer who helped Joyce prepare the final typescript, and by 2 days the three copies of the one of 100 issue presented to Sylvia Beach, Harriet Shaw Weaver and Margaret Anderson. Galantière was an American writer and playwright who from 1920-27 was secretary of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. He knew most of the literary figures of the day and was a good friend of Ernest Hemingway. He is mentioned in a letter from Joyce to Harriet Weaver of 17 April 1926: "I am to read [from Finnegans Wake]... to a small group, this time including [George] Antheil and a young American [Lewis] Galantière who is preparing a course of lectures of U[lysses]" (Joyce, Letters, vol. III, p.140). David Alethea recounted: "When [Burton] Rascoe became literary editor of the New York Herald Tribune, his first act was to hire Galantière to write a literary letter from Paris. His columns over the next two years contain, besides analysis of the French literary scene... brief insights into the work and play of the literary circle in which he was a kind of invisible presence. He writes of visiting Proust... of collecting money to help support James Joyce and listening to him sing of Molly Bloom... Though invited by Joyce to undertake a lecture tour on Ulysses with his collaboration and urged by Sylvia Beach to write a guide to reading Ulysses, Galantière undertook neither of these projects" ("Lewis Galantière: The Last Amateur'" in Columbia Library Columns, vol. XLI, no. 2, February 1992, pp.6-7). See Sylvia Beach, Shakespeare and Company, London, 1959. Connolly, The Modern Movement 42; Slocum & Cahoon A17.