One of 150 of the First Edition of Joyce's MasterworkJames Joyce. Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922.
First edition, this copy one of 150 copies printed on vergé d'arches paper. This first edition was limited to 1,000 copies, of which the first 100 copies (numbered 1-100) were signed by Joyce and printed on Dutch handmade paper, the next 150 copies (101-250) were printed on vergé d'arches, and the final 750 copies (251-1,000) were printed on handmade paper and were trade copies. The copy offered here is number 199. Quarto. 732 pages.
Handsomely bound in full polished yellow-brown morocco over boards. Blind fillets to boards. Raised bands; morocco title label with gilt lettering. Blind tooling to turn-ins. Marbled endpapers. Top edge gilt. Deckle edges. Original blue wrappers bound in. Some bumping to the corners of boards, slight sunning to spine, and a scrape to the leather of the rear board. A beautiful copy of this cornerstone of contemporary literature. The original wrappers and contents in pristine, near fine condition.
The initial publication of Joyce's mammoth and complex novel Ulysses was an extraordinary endeavor when one takes into account that Sylvia Beach, with no background in publishing, undertook the daunting task of bringing a 700-plus-page novel into book form under the imprint of her Paris book shop, Shakespeare and Company. The result, a book elegant in its simplicity, has little in the way of front matter, making the caveat on the leaf following the limitation page intriguing in its brevity: "The publisher asks the reader's indulgence for typographical errors unavoidable in the exceptional circumstances." As George Micajah Phillips writes in Hypermedia Joyce Studies, "These 'exceptional circumstances'-among them Joyce's deteriorating eyesight, selling his manuscript piecemeal before its publication to make ends meet, and the disastrous contaminations introduced by non-English-speaking typists in Dijon and led by a 'correcting' foreman (Dalton 108; Driver 33) - applied not only to the publication of Beach's edition, but to the creation and development of Ulysses itself. [...] Even though Beach's cautionary statement was only included in Shakespeare & Co. editions, it should be included in every text of Ulysses. The entire history of the publication of Ulysses is the history of transmitted textual error."
Lacking a definitive and truly authoritative edition, this, Joyce's masterwork, will most certainly continue to beguile and confound readers and scholars alike for years to come.
George Micajah Phillips, The Protean Text of Ulysses and Why All Editions Are Equally "Definitive" (Hypermedia Joyce Studies - Volume 4, Issue 2: Dec. 2003-Jan. 2004).
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