Ulysses Prospectus


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Item#: 124852 price:$10,000.00

Ulysses Prospectus
Ulysses Prospectus
Ulysses Prospectus
Ulysses Prospectus


JOYCE, James. Ulysses Prospectus. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1921. One folded leaf, printed on both sides; pp. 4. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box. $10000.

Very rare original Shakespeare and Company prospectus for Joyce's Ulysses.

In 1919, Joyce's Ulysses began appearing in installments in the Egoist in London; although the Egoist's editor, Harriet Weaver, intended to publish the whole novel in book form (she even issued announcements of its forthcoming publication), no printers were willing to take the legal risk. The Little Review in Chicago then began publishing chapters, promptly leading to the prosecution of its editors, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, on charges of obscenity. Upon hearing of this from Joyce himself, Sylvia Beach offered to publish the work through her Parisian bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. "Undeterred by lack of capital, experience, and all the other requisites of a publisher, I went right ahead with Ulysses," wrote Beach in her memoir. Joyce had modest goals for publication: "He thought that if a dozen or so copies were printed there would be some left over. A thousand copies were to be printed, I told him firmly."

"A prospectus was printed announcing that Ulysses, by James Joyce, would be published 'complete as written' (a most important point) by Shakespeare and Company, Paris, in 'the autumn of 1921.' The prospectus stated that the edition was to be limited to a thousand copies: 100 printed on Dutch paper and signed, at 350 francs; 150 on verge-d'Arches, at 250 francs; and the remaining 750 on ordinary paper, at 150 francs. There was a postage-stamp-sized photo of the author, gaunt and bearded—the one taken in Zurich—and excerpts from articles by those critics who had spotted Ulysses on its first appearance in the Little Review. On the back of the prospectus was a blank form to be filled in with the subscriber's name and his choice of the kind of copy he wanted" (Beach, Shakespeare and Company, 46-48).

The prospectus was successful, and orders began pouring in from throughout the world, in part due to the tireless promotion of the work and distribution of the prospectus by friends of Beach such as Ezra Pound. The prospectus "was probably written by Adrienne. It was paid for at the beginning of May and mailed to people all over the world… Friends in journalism publicized her plans. May and June were frantic. Mailings were sent out by the score… Joyce haunted the bookshop every day waiting for the orders to arrive… The Paris Tribune, the European edition of the Chicago Tribune, carried an article about her in its 28 May 1921 edition: 'American Girl Conducts Novel Bookstore Here.' In commenting on her coming publication of Ulysses, the article states, 'It is said that its present publication may mean that Miss Beach will not be allowed to return to America.' Such publicity added to the drama of publication" (Fitch, 81-84).

After some delay, Ulysses was finally published on February 2, 1922. "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. Ulysses was explosive in its impact on the literary world of 1922… Then began the great game of smuggling the edition into countries where it was forbidden, especially England and the United States. The contraband article was transported across the seas and national borders in all sorts of cunning ways" (de Grazia, 27). After Shakespeare and Company moved from its original location on the Rue Dupuytren to Rue de l'Odeon on in July 1921, the old address on the prospectus was crossed out and the new address written in, suggesting that this copy was one of the earlier ones mailed out (see Fitch, 91). With mounted photograph of Joyce on the last page, as issued.

Leaf neatly split in two along fold; two small closed tears. Very scarce.

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