"Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home": First Edition of Ulysses; One of 750 Numbered Copies

  • Ulysses.
  • Ulysses.
  • Ulysses.
  • Ulysses.

Ulysses.

$75,000.00

Item Number: 3053

Paris: Shakespeare & Company, 1922.

First edition. One of 750 numbered copies on handmade paper from a total edition of 1000 copies. Thick quarto, original blue and white wrappers. A near fine copy, internally fresh and largely unopened, the wrappers not significantly soiled or faded, and completely unrestored. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. This is copy #992, and has laid in the front panel of the original prospectus with the tipped-on reproduction of the 1918 photo of Joyce by C. Ruf. The front panel of the prospectus has been amended, as often, to indicate the book “is now ready,” and the original buyer must have jumped at the opportunity, as the order panel of the prospectus has been neatly cut away. Sisley Huddleston’s 5 March 1922 review from The Observer is also laid in (though both items are in prophylactic sleeves that have prevented any offsetting). Also laid into the slipcase is some correspondence relating to the sale of this copy in 1972 by Duschnes in New York City. A very sharp example with exceptional provenance.

Ulysses was published in Paris by Shakespeare & Company, 1922. It was a struggle for the author to find a publisher, a comic irony considering that Ulysses is "[u]niversally hailed as the most influential work of modern times" (Grolier Joyce 69). Ulysses was an immediate success. The first printing sold out, and "within a year Joyce had become a well-known literary figure. Ulysses was explosive in its impact on the literary world of 1922" (de Grazia, 27). Even so, the book faced difficulties in global reception. It was banned in the U.K. and was prosecuted for the obscenity in the Nausicaa episode (Ellmann, 1982). Joyce's inspiration for the novel began as a young boy reading Charles Lamb's Adventures of Ulysses and writing an essay entitled "My Favorite Hero" after being impressed by the wholeness of the character (Goreman, 1939). The idea for the novel grew from a story in Dubliners in 1906, which Joyce expanded into a short book in 1907, before reconceptualizing it as the heady novel in 1914 (Ellmann, 1982). The book can initially seem unstructured and chaotic, and Joyce admitted that he "put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant" (The Observer, 2000). The French translator Stuart Gilbert published a defense of Ulysses shortly after its publication in which he supported the novel's use of obscenity and explained its internal structure and links to the Odyssey against accusations of ambiguity. Every episode, Gilbert explained, is connected to the Odyssey by theme, technique, and correspondence between characters. Another instance of Ulysses' literary contribution is his use of stream-of-consciousness, a technique employing carefully structured prose, both humorous and charactering, and involving puns and parodies. Joyce was a precursor to the use of stream of consciousness in the later decades. Similar narrative techniques were used by his contemporaries Virginia Wolfe, William Faulkner, and Italo Svevo. Their style can be better characterized as an "interior monologue, rather than stream of consciousness, is the appropriate term for the style in which [subjective experience] is recorded, both in The Waves and in Woolf's writing generally" (Stevenson, 1992).

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