London: John Lane, 1937. First UK trade edition. Finely bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in full crushed morocco with gilt to spine and boards. All edges brightly gilt. Inner dentelles gilt. Botanical endpapers. Spine sunned with some chipping to several of the bands. Internally pleasing and unmarked.
Joyce’s masterwork of modernism, one of the great books of the 20th century. Though it follows a single day in the life of Dubliner Leopold Bloom - June 16th, a day which has since become a worldwide holiday - Ulysses’ complex structure is actually inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. The book’s stream of consciousness prose and its experimental nature were groundbreaking, and many of the techniques Joyce used have since become standard fare. Ulysses took Joyce over seven years to write, and the story of its publication became an epic in itself. The work was first released in serial from 1918 to 1920 in the magazine The Little Review, and published in Paris in a limited first edition in 1922 by Sylvia Beach, the owner of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. It was not, however, released in the UK and United States, where the book had quickly been banned. In fact, copies were smuggled into both countries until a landmark obscenity trial cleared the book for American publication in 1934. Joyce claimed that he “put in so many enigmas and puzzles [into Ulysses] that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality.” Time has certainly proven him correct. "Ulysses is the most important contribution that has been made to fictional literature in the twentieth century. It will immortalize its author with the same certainty that Gargantua and Pantagruel immortalized Rabelais, and The Brothers Karamazov Dostoevsky. It is likely that there is no one writing English today that could parallel Joyce's feat” (Contemporary NY Times Review). Near Fine (Item #4429)