JOYCE, James. Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition, number 955 of 750 copies on handmade paper, from a total edition of 1000 copies.
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“LITERATURE - THE ETERNAL AFFIRMATION OF THE SPIRIT OF MAN”
Small quarto. Handsomely bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in blue straight-grained levant morocco, spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title and author in gilt direct in the second and third, the remainder with a gilt device at centres; blue and white endbands; board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt. Top edge gilt. Original ‘Greek flag’ blue green wrappers, lettered in white, bound in at rear. A near fine copy.
Slocum & Cahoon A23.
Arguably the greatest of modernist writers, James Joyce was a comic genius, a formal innovator, and an unsentimental poet of Irish life and language. He pioneered the use of inner-monologue and stream-of- consciousness techniques, and made brilliant use of such devices as parody and pastiche. Ulysses, Joyce’s mock-heroic epic novel, celebrates the events of one day (16 June, 1904) in the lives of three Dubliners and is modelled on episodes in Homer’s Odyssey. The central characters, Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom, and his wife Marian (Molly), correspond to Telemachus, Ulysses, and Penelope. This June day is known to Joyceans throughout the world as ‘Bloomsday’ . The first edition was published in Paris on Joyce’s fortieth birthday (2 February, 1922). Ulysses is a landmark in twentieth-century literature, and one of the most famous and celebrated in modern literature. Written over a seven-year period in three different cities, it has survived legal action, bitter controversy and persistent misunderstanding. Literature, as Joyce tells us through the character of Dedalus is: “the eternal affirmation of the spirit of man”. Ulysses was published in three states: 100 copies were printed on Dutch handmade paper and signed by Joyce; 150 large paper copies were printed on heavier vergé d’Arches, and the remaining 750 copies formed this slightly smaller format trade issue. Ulysses is among the major works in the modernist canon, and its creator one of the great geniuses of all literature: “Joyce, not to mince words, is Ireland’s Shakespeare, its Goethe, its Racine, and its Tolstoy” (Sutherland). Sylvia Beach’s Ulysses Notebook records, from 21 May 1921 to 1 July 1922, the names of subscribers and the order date for the first edition of Ulysses. Copy 955 is duly noted as being one of seven copies purchased by Agence Générale on 27 February, the same month as publication (Horowitz, p. 133).
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