A DOZEN PLUS A "TILLY": JOYCE'S POMES PENYEACH
JOYCE, James. Pomes Penyeach. Paris: Shakespeare and Company [Herbert Clarke, printer], 1927. 12mo, original pale green stiff paper boards; pp. . Housed in a custom morocco portfolio. $1300.
First edition of this surprisingly durable collection of short poems, written over a 20-year period and published by Sylvia Beach, many of which continue to appear in modern anthologies.
"Pomes Penyeach contains 13 poems— a dozen plus a 'tilly,' the title of the first poem and a word meaning the 13th in a baker's dozen or the extra half-cup from the Dublin milkman. Faithful to its title (and of necessity cheaply printed), the volumes cost a shilling, or 12 francs" (Fitch, 263). These poems were first offered to Ezra Pound in 1926, who rudely judged that "they belong in the Bible or in the family album with the portraits." Archibald MacLeish, on the other hand, responded very favorably, so Joyce went ahead with publication. Pomes Penyeach has proven surprisingly durable, and a number of its poems, particularly "Tilly," "A flower given to my daughter," "On the beach at Fontana," and "Bahnhofstrasse," continue to appear in anthologies to this day. "As Joyce and Beach had done for the 'Greek blue' of Ulysses, they chose a special color— the shade of the Irish Calville apple. Colors were symbolic for Joyce, who was very particular about this shade of green, which unfortunately faded fast" (Fitch). With errata slip tipped in at rear. Simultaneously issued in a limited edition of 13 numbered copies printed on hand-made paper. Slocum & Cahoon A24.
Boards still retain some of the pale green color that proved very prone to fading; spine toned. A near-fine copy.