In 2009, a well-preserved first edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, first published in 1922, was sold for £275,000. It had hardly been read, except for the racy bits. The book had previously been lost, having originally been bought surreptitiously in a Manhattan bookshop despite it being banned in the USA. The book was banned throughout the 1920s in the UK and USA. Another first edition [below right] was defaced by a reader who condemned the book as pornographic; the book was still valued at €13,500. The novel was banned in the UK until 1936.
Ulysses was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review between March 1918 and December 1920, before being published in its entirety by Syliva Beach [above left] in Paris on February 2, 1922 [Joyce’s 40th birthday]. Ulysses is the Latinised name of Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic poem Odyssey. The novel has a number of parallels with the poem including structure, characters. Leopold Bloom echoes Odysseus; Molly Bloom/Penelope; Stephen Dedalus/Telemachus; taking place in the 20th century.
A first edition dated 1922 [above] by Shakespeare & Company in Paris is for sale [at time of going to press] at Peter Harrington for £87,500. Number 136 of 150 copies, this is noted in Syliva Beach’s notebook as being one of three copies sent to James Whitall on March 28, 1922. It is signed and dated by Joyce
Set in Dublin, June 16-17, 1904, the action starts at about 8am. Stephen Dedalus wakes up and talks with his two housemates, Buck Mulligan and student Haines. The action continues for 24 hours when Stephen, having politely refused lodgings at the home of two other principal characters, Leopold and Molly Bloom, discovers he is no longer welcome to stay with Mulligan and Haines. During the course of the day the characters move through their day in Dublin.
A 1967 film of Ulysses [above] starring Milo O’Shea as Leopold Bloom was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Watch Molly Bloom’s soliloquy here.
In 2003, another film, Bloom [below] starred Stephen Rea. Watch the trailer here.
‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce [UK: Wordsworth Classics]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: ULYSSES by James Joyce #oldbooks https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3aq via @SandraDanby