(New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1935). 305 x 241 mm. (12 x 9 1/2"). xv, [iii], 363,  pp.Introduction by Stuart Gilbert. No. 316 of 1,500 Copies, this being ONE OF 250 SPECIAL COPIES SIGNED BY BOTH JOYCE AND MATISSE.
Publisher's original brown buckram, embossed in gilt and titled on front cover and on flat spine, the decorations from a design by LeRoy H. Appleton. In the publisher's slipcase. WITH 26 ILLUSTRATIONS BY HENRI MATISSE, depicting the Calypso, Aeolus, Cyclops, Nausicaa, Circe, and Ithaca episodes from Homer's "Odyssey." Front pastedown with evidence of bookplate removal. Slocum & Cahoon A-22; Quarto-Millenary 71; "The Artist and the Book" 197. Slipcase with only the most trivial signs of wear, text with half a dozen tiny, faint marginal smudges (from the printing process), but A VERY FINE COPY--clean and fresh internally, and in an unworn binding.
This is an unusually well-preserved copy of the only book illustrated by Matisse to be published in America, and one of the great collaborations of artist and author in the annals of 20th century private press publication. In the opinion of art publisher Monroe Wheeler, "it was a great idea to bring [Joyce and Matisse] together" since they were "celebrities of the same generation, of similar virtuosity." Newman says that this work and the Limited Editions Club "Lysistrata" "stand as landmarks in the history of the illustrated book," and that "Ulysses" is almost certainly the most famous work among LEC publications designed by George Macy. Matisse's illustrations are curious in that they were based not on "Ulysses," a work the artist had not read when he was asked to make etchings for the text, but on Homer's "Odyssey," from which Joyce's book obviously derives. "Following Matisse's wishes, the preparatory studies were grouped in front of each corresponding print, allowing the viewer to see the progression from sketch to finished composition." (Grolier Club Exhibition) Joyce was furious when he learned that Matisse had chosen to illustrate scenes from Homer's "Odyssey," rather than from Joyce's novel, and as a consequence, he stopped signing the present Limited Editions Club printing in a fit of pique, after affixing his signature to 250 copies (whereas Matisse signed them all). Although the LEC edition of "Ulysses" is far from a rare book in the marketplace, obtaining a copy of the volume and the slipcase in the very fine condition seen here is becoming increasingly difficult. (ST16034)
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PJP Catalog: 77.137