‘For seven years I have been working at this book – blast it!’ wrote James Joyce in a letter in 1920. What had started out as a short story entitled ‘Ulysses in Dublin’, intended as a rounding-o for Dubliners, had taken him over. Homer’s Odyssey had become the epic model for an epic journey – not this time from Troy to Ithaca, but, in the course of a single day, into the heart of Ireland’s capital. By the end of his journey, Joyce had created one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
Ulysses is an immense and overwhelming book, the sheer scale of it apparent even in such a brief summing up. Eighteen different episodes, each told in a different way, packed with learning, buzzing with life, exciting, challenging, moving, but never solemn. It may be a single day in a single city, but it teems with zestful humanity.
For this landmark edition – only available from The Folio Society – Joyce scholars Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon have returned to the original 1922 edition to create the most authoritative text to date. Included is an essay by the editors detailing their methodology, while Joyce expert Stacey Herbert has written a short history of the publication of this most notorious work.
Multi-award-winning artist and Joyce devotee John Vernon Lord has provided a series of extraordinary illustrations, as well as an iconic binding design. Describing the process as ‘a humbling experience’, Lord has also written a revealing introductory essay that places the images in context, illuminating the myriad meanings, symbols, events and inspirations behind each piece. Lord acts almost as a guide to the labyrinthine narrative. The praedella strip of images at the bottom of each illustration references the Linati ‘schema’, a way of navigating through the text created by Joyce for his friend Carlo Linati.