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Lot #6038
James Joyce Signed Book - Ulysses (Limited Edition, 1936)

Handsome signed presentation edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, published by The Bodley Head and limited to 100

Estimate: $35000+
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Handsome signed presentation edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, published by The Bodley Head and limited to 100

Rare signed book: Ulysses by James Joyce. First edition thus, limited issue of 100 signed copies on mould-made paper bound in calf vellum [this example unnumbered and marked "Presentation Copy" in calligraphy]. London: John Lane The Bodley Head, 1936. Hardcover bound in full cream vellum with Homeric bow design by Eric Gill in gilt on covers, spine lettered in gilt, top edges gilt, others uncut, by the Leighton Straker Bookbinding Co., with the publisher's original slipcase with printed paper label, 8 x 10.25, 766 pages. Boldly signed on the colophon in fountain pen, "James Joyce." Autographic condition: fine. Book condition: VG/None in a VG case, with some minor rubbing and discoloration to boards, and slight mottled foxing to darkened spine and textblock extremities; edgewear to the case, some staining to the paper label, and mottled foxing to interior. Complete with the original prospectus laid in.

Joyce encountered difficulties with his controversial masterpiece Ulysses in both Great Britain and the United States, with publishers reluctant to print the uncensored work due to obscenity laws. The editors of The Little Review (a literary magazine based in New York) supported subversive material and were willing to take the risk, but even they had trouble finding a printer; the London-based The Egoist faced an even greater challenge in the UK because both publishers and printers were liable to prosecution, and published only excerpts.

These fears of censorship and prosecution were realized in September 1920, when charges were brought against The Little Review after the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice lodged a complaint. The Little Review lost the ensuing legal battle and ceased its serialization of Ulysses, which was banned in the United States until 1933. It was also officially banned in Britain after a book-form version was successfully published in Paris in 1922, and remained illegal there until 1936. This edition of Joyce's masterwork, the first edition of the complete work to be printed and published in England, was set from the second impression of Odyssey Press's edition and proofed by Joyce. With the binding and typography designed by the English artist Eric Gill, it is widely considered to be the most handsome of all Ulysses editions.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities
  • Dates: #669 - Ended September 23, 2023

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