Sunday, May 31, 2015

James Joyce, Ulysses (First US edition, 1934 Random House)


This is the first US edition of one of my favorite novels of all time, Ulysses. It was published by Random House in 1934, 12 years after the original 1000-copy edition was boldly published in Paris by Shakespeare and Co.



This copy belonged to my grandfather, who was a casual Joyce scholar and serious Joyce collector: it was passed down to me, jacketless, when he died, and I recently found a facsimile jacket to complete the piece.



The book is in surprisingly great condition and still has a tight binding and minimal staining and wear. The spine has some slight discoloration (likely due to sunning) but the book remains in highly presentable condition. Frankly, it feels unread, and that its wear is from its various phases storage and transport over the years.



An added personal bonus: the book is inscribed on the flyleaf by a "Lydia Evans", who graduated from my Alma Mater, Vassar College, in 1936. Wonderful to think of our potential overlap, seventy years apart, walking into the same library and across the same quad. I think it was 2004 that I first fell in love with Ulysses, too. Google tells me she was the wife of a landscape architect named Christopher Tunnard. Searching for both their names results in a number of donations to both the Yale and Vassar art collections.



It's one of my prized pieces. The book was highly influential to me, and still dazzles me every few years when I decide to revisit it.



Currently reading:
David McCullough, The Wright Brothers

Currently listening to:
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, "Loin des Hommes"

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