James Joyce Ulysses Rare Books

“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”

Those words were famously written by one of the most influential writers in the 20th century, James Joyce. The quote comes from Joyce’s work Ulysses, an epic novel that was originally published in parts throughout continuous issues of magazine The Little Review in 1918. The publication series was halted after the Nausicaä episode of Ulysses was published, due to the graphic sexual nature of one of the scenes. As everyone knows, Joyce’s novel follows the epic of the The Odyssey, and that particular scene parallels Homeric themes of marriage, girlish desires, and male satisfaction that occur when Odysseus washes up on the shore of Phaeacia, where Princess Nausicaä tends to his laundry and embraces him in other ways.

Though Ulysses remains a staple in literature from the modernist, avant-garde period, it was not the first, nor the last of Joyce’s greatest works. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man preceded the epic and was known as Joyce’s “coming-of-age” novel. Employing techniques such as stream-of-consciousness and interior monologue, Joyce takes us through the story of Stephen Dedalus as he grows throughout his childhood and adolescence into a highly self-conscious artist.

It is in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man that Joyce writes, “Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an esthetic end.”

James Joyce Ulysses Rare First Edition

The Rare First Edition of Ulysses by James Joyce

James Joyce was born in Dublin in winter of 1882, into a lower-middle class family. His family was often burdened with financial struggles and his father’s addiction to alcohol; but despite this, young James Joyce was a brilliant student that excelled in his studies. Anyone who has read Joyce’s literature knows that it most often contains stories taking place in Dublin, with characters that contain many qualities with family members, friends, and acquaintances from his own life.

“For myself, I always write about Dublin,” said Joyce, shortly after publishing his epic novel Ulysses, “because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all cities of the world. In particular is contained the universal.”

James Joyce W B Yeats The Dublin Book of Irish Verse First Edition Rare Book

First Edition of The Dublin Book of Irish Verse, with 3 Early Poems by James Joyce

Some of Joyce’s most celebrated depictions of “the heart of Dublin” come from his collection of short stories, Dubliners, as well as much of his poetry. Edited by John Cooke, The Dublin Book of Irish Verse contains 3 of James Joyce’s early poems and a selection of pieces by W. B. Yeats, another famous Irish poet of the time period. Bound in its original green cloth, the first edition of The Dublin Book of Irish Verse is preserved in near fine condition with only the lightest of rubbing.