ORIGINAL SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY PRINTER'S ADVERTISEMENT FOR JAMES JOYCE'S WORKS, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS BY SYLVIA BEACH REGARDING THE EARLY PUBLICATION OF JOYCE'S WORKS IN PROGRESS, LATER KNOWN AS FINNEGANS WAKE
(BEACH, Sylvia) JOYCE, James. Printer's advertisement for Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, circa 1931. Single printed sheet, measuring 5-1/2 by 5 inches. $13,500.
Original Shakespeare and Company printer's advertisement for the works of James Joyce, annotated at length on the verso by Sylvia Beach listing the publication and availability of the first three parts of Finnegans Wake while still under the working title Works in Progress.
After working seven years on Ulysses, Joyce, desperate to find a publisher, turned to Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare and Company in Paris. "Within a month of the publication, the first printing of Ulysses was practically sold out, and within a year Joyce had become a well-known literary figure" (de Grazia, 27). From that point forward, Beach represented Joyce and his work in nearly every capacity, " facing down outraged critics, legal rulings and printers who refused to take on Joyce's work" (British Library). This printer's advertisement reflects Beach's lifelong commitment to promoting Joyce's work, including through the writing of Finnegans Wake, seen here when it was still Work in Progress. The lengthy notations cover the verso and are entirely in Beach's hand: "1st fragment of 'Work in Progress' published in New York by Crosby Gage 1928 Anna Livia Plurabelle (from part I) 650 copies all signed. 2nd fragment Tales Told of Shem & Shaun (from part II) The Black Sun Press, Paris 1929. 3rd fragment Babou & Kahane, Paris 1930 Haveth Childers Everywhere from part III. Parts I and III and a small section of part II of Work in Progress appeared in the review Transition Nos 1-8 and III to 15." Interestingly, Finnegans Wake led to the undoing of Beach and her bookshop. Shakespeare and Company "closed in December 1941, when a Nazi officer threatened to confiscate the stock of the bookshop if Sylvia did not sell him her only copy of the novel" (Fitch, 393). Beach had endured a downturn in business, hiding her stock from the Nazis, the deaths of her husband and James Joyce. Ultimately, she could not endure the perversion of Joyce's legacy. This printer's advertisement represents the twilight years of Joyce's brilliant career, before he succumbed to illness and disability, when the possibilities of Finnegans Wake, still unfinished, seemed limitless and Sylvia Beach had no reason to believe her reign as the most powerful literary figure in Paris would ever end. Small repricing overlay reading "Frs. 12" on recto. Printed telephone number on recto crossed out with new number neatly stamped below. Two annotations in an unknown hand: [below Ulysses] "in paper covers cloth binding" and [below Pomes Penyeach] "(out of print)."