At Last a Copy To Buy Openly in England, but (Happily) this One Never Read


(London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1936). 264 x 194 mm. (10 3/8 x 7 5/8"). 8 p.l., 765, [1] pp. No. 7 OF 100 COPIES SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR. (There were also 900 unsigned copies.) First Edition Printed in England.

Original vellum, gilt titling on spine, large stylized gilt bow on each cover, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed and MOSTLY UNOPENED. In the original (slightly worn but very solid) black and white patterned paper slipcase with paper label, housed in a fine silk-lined gray morocco clamshell box by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Title printed in blue and black. Prospectus laid in at front. Slocum & Cahoon A-23. Perhaps a hint of smudging to vellum (or perhaps just a natural variation in its color), but, in any case, A VIRTUALLY MINT COPY, the binding entirely unworn, and the especially bright and mostly unopened text pristine.

Billed in the laid-in prospectus as the "final and definitive edition," this is the first printing of Joyce's masterwork actually to be done in Britain. Joyce's chronicle of Leopold Bloom's odyssey through Dublin on 16 June 1904 (the date of Joyce's first date with his wife Nora) excited much controvery upon publication in 1922 and was for years a target of censorship, especially in the U.S. and U.K. In an article in the "Clarion" published two years before the present edition, J. B. Priestley lamented the "ridiculous" circumstance of being unable to obtain (except through underground means) a work "hailed as a masterpiece by writers . . . all over the world." He said that "probably no novel of our time has been more often mentioned in print than 'Ulysses,' yet the actual number of English-speaking readers who have read it is very small." Our edition is beautifully printed and notable for its accuracy. As the recent Ursus catalogue entry states, "the Shakespeare & Co. first edition included well over 5,000 departures from the author's own text, thus making any page erroneous at least seven times per page on average. The combination of an American publisher (Sylvia Beach), a French printer and typesetter (Maurice Darantière), [and] typists of various nationalities, all trying to interpret the difficult handwriting and unpredictable syntax of a half-blind Irish genius, resulted in a first edition inundated with inaccuracies." The present version remedies this by incorporating corrections made by Joyce's friend Stuart Gilbert (in preparation for his 1932 Odyssey Press edition). Copies like ours, from the run of 100, were printed on mould-made paper and bound in vellum designed by Eric Gill; the 900 unsigned copies were printed on Japon vellum paper and bound in linen buckram. Previous owners apparently cared just to read Molly Bloom's soliloquy, as those are the only pages that have been opened. In addition to the novel, our copy contains appendices with materials related to litigation over the publication of an expurgated edition in the United States, and a bibliography of works by Joyce.

Add to Cart Price: $30,000.00

PJP Catalog: NY20BF.067


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