"The Most Important Work of Modern Times": One of the Earliest Presentation Copies of James Joyce's Ulysses; Inscribed by Joyce to Lewis Galantiere


JOYCE, James.

Item Number: 19070

Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922.

First edition, one of 750 numbered copies, this example is number 282. Quarto, original blue wrappers as issued. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “To Lewis Galantiere James Joyce Paris 11 February 1922.” Ulysses was scheduled for publication on Joyce‘s fortieth birthday (February 2, 1922), but only two copies were ready on that date due to technical difficulties in printing the cover, the color of which Joyce wanted to match with the blue of the Greek flag. One of these was the copy delivered by Sylvia Beach to Joyce on February 2, which he then inscribed to his wife Nora, being the only known presentation copy to predate Galantiere’s. The present copy in turn predates by two days the three copies presented to Sylvia Beach, Harriet Shaw Weaver and Margaret Anderson, and by three days the copy inscribed to Robert McAlmon, who helped Joyce prepare the final typescript. Galantiere was an American translator of French literature, writer, playwright and journalist. From 1920 to 1927 he was secretary of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, and came to know most of the literary figures of the day, including Hemingway. In a letter to Harriet Weaver of 17 April 1926, Joyce writes: “I am to read [from Finnegans Wake] … to a small group, this time including … a young American Galantiere who is preparing a course of lectures of Ulysses” (Joyce Letters vol 3, p 140). Slocum & Cahoon A17; Connolly The Modern Movement 42. In excellent condition with light rubbing, rebacked without the folding flaps. With Galantiere’s marginal markings in pencil and in ink. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box. An exceptional rarity of this twentieth century milestone.

Ulysses was published in Paris by Shakespeare & Company in 1922. “The novel is universally hailed as the most influential work of modern times” (Grolier Joyce 69). After working seven years on Ulysses, Joyce, desperate to find a publisher, turned to Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare and Company in Paris. “Within a month of the publication, the first printing of Ulysses was practically 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… Then began the great game of smuggling the edition into countries where it was forbidden, especially England and the United States. The contraband article was transported across the seas and national borders in all sorts of cunning ways” (de Grazia, 27).

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