My Blog List

Monday, September 2, 2013

James Joyce's Ulysses and a few of It's Champions 

As I look through our copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, I am reminded of Joyce’s genius and of the four courageous women that fought to see his work published. 
Margaret Anderson and Jean Heap, in America, serialized a portion of Ulysses in their Little Review until the U.S. Courts ruled the work “obscene”.  Harriet Weaver, in England, published five installments of Ulysses in her Egoist Review before experiencing the same censorship and public indignation in England.

Sylvia Beach with James Joyce at
Shakespeare and Company
After those two setbacks, Mr. Joyce lamented to Sylvia Beach, owner of the Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in Paris, that he feared his book would never be published.  Ms. Beach asked, on the spur of the moment, if  Mr. Joyce would allow Shakespeare and Company to publish Ulysses.  Mr. Joyce gratefully accepted the offer and thus was born one of the most storied publisher/author partnerships in all bookdom.  Ms. Beach had no experience as a publisher and when the printers complained about Joyce’s major corrections to proof sheets and his insistence that the book covers had to be a “Greek blue” that was nowhere to be found in France. she simply said.... “Ulysses was to be as Joyce wished, in every respect”. 

The first Shakespeare and Company printing of Ulysses was finally issued in February, 1922 in an edition of 1,000 numbered copies.  The second printing of 2,000 copies was printed in France for the Egoist Press (Ms. Weaver) and 500 of those copies were burned by the New York Port Authority.  The third printing of 500 numbered  copies was published for the Egoist Press and 499 copies were seized by English Customs agents. The 4th, 5th, 6th,  7th, 8th and 9th printings were by Shakespeare and Company.  

A first edition of Ulysses, in today’s market, can fetch $75,000 with signed copies realizing even more.  Our modest copy is a Shakespeare and Company 9th printing (May, 1927) in 3/4 leather over marble paper with the original blue wrappers bound in and 735 pages of text.  It is in very good condition........  It is priced at $500.

And we also have a portfolio sized, signed limited edition in a dust jacket and slip case of Bloomsday: An Interpretation of James Joyce’s Ulysses by Saul Field and Morton P. Levitt printed by the New York Graphic Society in 1972.  It consists of 122 well illustrated pages.  Our copy, number XXI, is signed by Mr. Field and Mr. Levitt and includes an original engraving numbered XXI signed by Mr. Field .....It is priced at $225.

If you wish to delve further into the history of Joyce’s Ulysses, you might check out Sylvia Beach’s book, Shakespeare and Company or the film Joyce’s Women adapted, starring and produced by the wonderful Irish born actress, Fionnula Flanagan. (I had the good fortune to see her one woman performance of Joyce's Women, in a LA Theatre, that evolved into the film.)

Hope you are enjoying a great Labor Day!!  
And best wishes for a lifetime of joyous Bloomsdays (each and every June 16)!!

No comments:

Post a Comment