JOYCE, James

JOYCE, James Ulysses

Shakespeare Press, Paris, 1922.

First edition, number 41 of 100 copies on Holland handmade paper, signed by the author on the limitation page. Original 'Greek flag' blue-green wrappers, lettered in white to upper cover. Remains of Robert Herring's bookplate to the front end paper. A very good copy, entirely unrepaired. Pale offsetting from wrappers. A little wear to the wrappers at the corners of the spine joints with a thin slither of loss along the base of the rear joint. A few other trivial nicks, but a fresh and well preserved copy.

The author's most famous work and tour de force of modern literature in its most desirable state. The first printing of Ulysses consisted of 1000 numbered copies to be sold by subscription. Copies number 1-100 were printed on Holland handmade paper and each signed by Joyce; copies 101-250 were printed on vergé d'Arches and the remaining 750 copies on linen paper, the least expensive stock. A further 20 copies were produced, unwrappered on mixed paper and marked, "press copy".
Following a disastrous serialisation in the Little Review, it was to Sylvia Beach and her small Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare and Company that Joyce turned. Beach, like Andersen before her, had immediately seen the genius in Ulysses, and wrote to her mother that she might be soon to publish "the most important book of the age".
A printer was found in Maurice Darantière of Dijon and publication was planned for October. The printing process was not nearly as straightforward as anticipated, due in part to Joyce's continual rewriting of the text and his and Beach's perfectionism in the printing process. The publication date was continually moved back and eventually 2 February 1922, Joyce's birthday, was settled upon.
Copies were delivered in tranches and all 1000 of the first edition were sold within a month. It is now recognised as one of the key works of the twentieth century and the defining work of the modernist movement.
"...like a ruined temple soaring from a jungle." - Cyril Connolly (100 Key Books of the Modern Movement)
This copy also has the distinction of being owned by (at least) two members of the 'Lowndes Square Set', which centred around Annie Winifred Ellerman (Bryher) and her house in Lowndes Square where she lived with Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) and Kenneth Macpherson. As an independently wealthy philanthropist with literary aspirations, Bryher played an important backstage hand in the publication of Ulysses, supporting Joyce and his family with a monthly allowance as well as providing much needed financial backing to Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co. She and her husband at the time, Robert McAlmon, had befriended Joyce in Paris in 1921. McAlmon played a more practical part in Ulysses's publication, agreeing to type the final fifty pages of the Penelope section. This involved transcribing phrases from Joyce's notebook for insertion into Molly Bloom's monologue, effectively creating the structure of the text,
"I thought, 'Molly might just as well think this or that a page or two later, or not at all,' and made the insertions wherever I happened to be typing. Years later I asked Joyce if he had noticed that I'd altered the mystic arrangement of Molly's thought, and he said that he had, but agreed with my viewpoint."
Robert Herring, the remainder of whose bookplate is in this copy (designed by artist, George Plank, also a member of the Lowndes set), met Bryher in the late twenties. Having been the assistant editor of the London Mercury, he was given the editorship of the significant literary magazine, Life and Letters Today when Bryher purchased it in 1935.
Beach's Ulysses notebook does not record the original subscriber of this copy. It is unlikely that Herring, as a nineteen year old of modest means, would choose to buy most expensive issue of Ulysses, if any. Bryher, on the other hand, would be most likely to show her support for the publication by buying the signed issue, which she would have then lent to Herring when they became friends in the late twenties. What is known is that the book was in Bryher's library on her death in 1983, when it was transferred en bloc to her adopted daughter's house in East Hampton and has been passed down since by family descent.

PROVENANCE: Robert Herring (1903-1975; remains of bookplate and pencilled initials to front end paper), poet and literary critic.
Annie Winifred Ellerman known as Bryher (1894-1983), novelist and poet. Transferred with Bryher's library to East Hampton after her death in 1983.
Perdita Schaffner (1919-2001), daughter of H.D. and adopted daughter of Bryher.

Slocum A17; Connolly The Modern Movement 42

Stock ID: 31011


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