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Ulysses by  JAMES JOYCE - First Edition - 1922 - from 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop (SKU: 32820228)


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About This Item

FIRST EDITION. This is one of 750 numbered copies (of an edition of 1000) of Ulysses, the most sought-after book of 20th-century literature.

Early in 1918, Ezra Pound secured Ulysses, then in progress, for the avant-garde American literary magazine The Little Review. Joyce was delighted to know that his book was being read and talked about, if only in modernist circles, and the serial publication spurred the author on as he tried to keep pace with the magazine's schedule. Several numbers were seized as obscene and burned by the United States Post Office, the obscenity trial beginning on February 14, 1921 resulted in the editors' conviction. The serial publication of Ulysses ceased, and the American publishers who had considered publishing the book abandoned the project. Within weeks Joyce agreed to Sylvia Beach's offer that the first edition appear in Paris under her Shakespeare and Company imprint in 1922.

Just prior to publication, Joyce warned, "The pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book, or worse they may take it in some serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one single serious line in it." He added, "In Ulysses I have recorded, simultaneously, what a man says, see, thinks, and that such seeing, thinking, saying does, to what you Freudians call the sub-conscious–but as for psychoanalysis, it's neither more nor less than blackmail" (Ellmann).

T.S. Eliot told Virginia Woolf after reading Ulysses, "How could anyone write again after achieving the immense prodigy of the last chapter?" Gertrude Stein commented, "Joyce is good. He is a good writer. People like him because he is incomprehensible and anybody can understand him."

Connolly, The Modern Movement A17. Slocum and Cahoon, Bibliography of James Joyce A17.

Original blue wrappers. Some wear and signs of handling, but a very good, unrestored copy. Quarter morocco slipcase


Ulysses is a modernist novel by James Joyce. It was first serialized in The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920 and later published by Shakespeare and Company in 1922. Originally, Joyce conceived of Ulysses as a short story to be included in Dubliners, but decided instead to publish it as a long novel, situated as a sort of sequel to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, picking up Stephen Dedalus’s life over a year later. Ulysses takes place on a single day, June 16, 1904, in Dublin. Within the massive text of 265,000 words (not so “short” anymore, eh?), divided in 18 episodes, Joyce radically shifts narrative style with each new episode, completely abandoning the previously accepted notions of plot, setting, and characters. The presentation of a fragmented reality through interior perception in Ulysses, often through stream-of-consciousness, is one of many reasons it is a paramount of Modernist literature.  Ulysses presents a series of parellels with Homer’s epic poem Odyssey (Ulysses is the Latinized name of Odysseus.) Not only can correspondences be drawn between the main characters of each text — Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus, Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, and Molly Bloom to Penelope, but each of the 18 episodes of Ulysses reflects an adventure from the Odyssey.  In 1998, the American publishing firm Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Read more: Identifying first editions of Ulysses


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Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]
The paper covering on the outside of a paperback.  Also see the entry for pictorial wraps, color illustrated coverings for...[more]

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