Celebrating James Joyce's Ulyssess: The Odyssey of Leopold Bloom through Dublin
Bloomsday, June 16, 1904
by Octavio Olvera
"Bloom's day" was first celebrated in 1924. Every year since then, readers have commemorated June 16, 1904, the day on which the action of Ulysses unfolds, with readings, reenactments, pub crawls, and pilgrimages through Dublin.
Displayed here, in celebration of Joyce's masterpiece, are notable editions of Ulysses from the holdings of Special Collections, as well as an artist's book by Margery Hellman which was inspired by the novel.
Ulysses first appeared in print as monthly installments in issues of the American avant-garde magazine The Little Review. The magazine succeeded in publishing only the first 14 of the 18 episodes of the novel — up through "Oxen of the Sun" — in the issues between March 1918 and Sept/Dec 1920.
Notable editions on exhibit include the true first edition of 1922; the first American editions, both unauthorized and authorized; and the illustrated edition with etchings by Henri Matisse.
James Joyce. Ulysses: with ... illustration by Henri Matisse.
New York: The LImited Editions Club, 1934.
The etchings and drawings of this limited edition of 1500 copies were created by Henri Matisse, although he claimed never to have read Joyce's great work. Instead, Matisse took his inspiration from that other Ulysses, the Odysseus of Homer. The six soft-ground etchings, printed separately from the text in a process which produces the effect of lines drawn with a soft pencil or chalk, represent the six episodes of "Calypso," "Aeolus," "Cyclops," "Nausicaa," "Circe," and "Ithaca." This copy is signed by Matisse.
Margery S. Hellmann. Wavewords. Seattle, Washington, 1966.
The artist's book explores the breakdown of conventional language and the redefinition of conventional book structure by incorporating words and phrases from James Joyce's Ulysses into a "book" in which the "pages" are rows of overlapping paper waves attached to an accordion-fold binding. Inspired by Joyce's experimentation with language and narrative structure, Hellmann sought — in her words — "to use innovative book structures and unconventional placement of words and letters to create a dimension beyond the text, an added visual language."
James Joyce. Ulysses.
New York: Random House, 1934; and Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1927 [i.e. 1929]
The minute the ban on publishing Ulysses was lifted with the New York District Court's decision of Dec. 6, 1933, Bennett Cerf at Random House began work on printing the first authorized American edition of Joyce's novel. However, he unknowingly based his 1934 edition — the first authorized American edition — on a copy of a 1929 forgery by publisher Samuel Roth of the legitimate 1927 Shakespeare and Company edition. Since the text of the forgery was corrupt, and full of errors, the Random House edition perpetuated those errors. Although Random House sought to correct the text in subsequent editions, numerous errors persisted, making American trade editions unreliable for many years.
The Little Review (March 1918-Sept/Dec 1920)
It was Ezra Pound who arranged for Ulysses to be serialized in The LIttle Review, the "little" magazine of the arts, started by Margaret Anderson in 1914 in Chicago. The first episode appeared in the March 1918 issue of The Little Review, with other episodes following. Several issues were confiscated by the U.S. postal authorities, and with the July-August 1920 issue, which contained part of the "Nausicaa" episode, a formal complaint was filed by the New York Society for the Prevention of Vice. Anderson and her co-editor Jane Heap were brought to trial and fined $50 each.
James Joyce. Ulysses.
Paris: Shakespeare and Co., 1922
Although Ulysses was deemed to be too pornographic to publish, it was thanks to a young American woman, Sylvia Beach, proprietor of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris that Joyce's complete masterpiece finally appeared in 1922. Displayed here is a copy of the true first edition, issued in blue wrappers in an edition of 1000 copies, 100 of which were signed by Joyce. Sylvia Beach's own copy, no. 2., is in the James Joyce Collection at the University of Buffalo. UCLA Library Special Collections has no. 29.