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The Poetry Collection

Case VII: After the First Edition

59. James Joyce, Ulysses, October 12, 1922 (second printing, copy #1).


Even as the first edition was being sold, plans were underway for a second printing, this time in England by Weaver and the Egoist Press. At this point, Beach had no intention to continue publishing Ulysses beyond the first edition. In an attempt to circumvent prosecution, the book would still be printed in France by Darantiere. John Rodker acted as Weaver's agent in France, essentially following the plan he had suggested to her earlier (see item 24, case III).[37] Two thousand numbered copies (and one hundred unnumbered) were printed and, with the exception of the publisher's statement, this edition is almost identical to the 750 series limitation of the first printing. Darantiere warned Beach that since the type he used was movable, a few new errors would creep into the second printing (and some did).[38]

While no legal action against Ulysses had yet been taken in England, the danger was still present. In America, Ulysses was a black-market commodity, often smuggled in through Canada with copies sometimes rebound with dust-jackets bearing innocuous titles like Merry Tales for Little Folks.[39] In the autumn of 1922, as copies were being shipped to America, a large quantity was seized and eventually destroyed. While the number of destroyed copies has been taken to be 500, Weaver herself was uncertain as to the exact figure and thought it be anywhere between four and five hundred. [40]

Plans were then quickly made to produce a new printing of 500 copies to replace the one lost to the American custom authorities. This printing also remarks the circumstances of its issuance with the notice "This edition of 500 copies is specially reprinted to replace those destroyed in transit to the U.S.A." Ironically, by this time the British authorities had decided that Ulysses was an obscene book and thus could be seized.[41] Therefore, when a consignment of the third, replacement printing arrived in Folkestone it was duly confiscated. There is some doubt as to the exact number seized at Folkestone; the claim is that 499 copies were destroyed, out of 500 printed. However, at least three copies are known to survive — one at Buffalo and two at Yale — and occasionally others surface in the rare books market.

On display is Sylvia Beach's copy of the 1922 Egoist Press printing and is inscribed: "To | Sylvia Beach | in token of gratitude | James Joyce | Paris | 2 December 1922."

60. Advertisement for the Egoist Press edition of Ulysses, 1922.

ULYSSES | by | JAMES JOYCE | A New Edition of 2,000 numbered | copies at £2 2s. each will be ready on | OCTOBER 12th, 1922 | [ornament] The First Edition, published | in April, is already exhausted

61. Errata list for the second printing, corrected for the fourth, 1923 (Buffalo V.F.4).

In November 1921, while Joyce was still completing Ulysses, he was also correcting the inevitable mistakes that Darantiere and his crew were making. He groused to Weaver: "I am extremely irritated by all those printer's errors. ... Are these to be perpetuated in future editions? I hope not."[42] When it came time for the Egoist Press edition in October, Joyce, Weaver, and Rodker began compiling a list of errata. Joyce compiled a list through "Cyclops" (item 102, case XIII). He also vetoed many of Rodker's suggested corrections since, as he explained to Weaver, "These are not misprints but beauties of my style hitherto undreamt of."[43] Apparently, Joyce had become more sanguine about the errors in his text. Eventually, an eight-page listing of corrections was made that was tipped in to the second printing. For the third printing, Darantiere implemented most of these corrections into the text. However, he was unable to catch all the mistakes — and besides new ones had been made in the second and third printings — therefore a second, shorter errata list, of four pages, was prepared for the fourth printing (item 62, case VII). This document, a spare copy of the first errata list, shows Joyce indicating which corrections were not made for the third printing so that they could be listed in the second errata list.

62. James Joyce, Ulysses, 1924 (fourth printing).


The seizures of the two Egoist Press printings made everyone realize that Ulysses could not yet be published in England. Beach thus decided that she would have to continue publishing Joyce's book. In January 1924 Ulysses returned to Shakespeare and Company with the fourth printing. Unlike the earlier printings, this was designed to be an inexpensive commodity, priced at 60 Fr. and printed on thick, inferior paper. The cover was white with blue letters (the white letters on a blue cover returned with the seventh printing). The fourth printing used the same plates as the third and thus carried forward the corrections Darantiere had implemented for that printing (because the third printing is so rare, it is usually assumed that the corrections first appeared in the fourth printing). A new errata list, of four pages, was also included (item 61). The 1924 printing also inaugurated the tradition of listing previous printings and noting confiscations, thereby including the narrative of the prosecution of Ulysses into Ulysses itself:

1st Printing (Shakespeare & Company, Paris) : February 1922.

(1000 numbered copies).

2nd Printing (Egoist Press, London) : October 1922.

(2000 numbered copies of which

500 copies burned by New York

Post Office Authorities).

3rd Printing (Egoist Press, London) : January 1923.

(500 numbered copies of which

499 seized by Customs

Authorities, Folkestone).

4th Printing (Shakespeare and Company, Paris) : January 1924.

This copy is inscribed: "To | Sylvia Beach | in token of gratitude | James Joyce | Michaelmas: 1923 | Paris."

63. Advertisement for the eighth printing (second edition) of Ulysses, 1926.


In May 1925 Darantiere proposed to Beach that the type for Ulysses be entirely reset.[44] Beach hired a professional proofreader who worked for the Daily Mail to make corrections to the text. Published in May 1926, the second edition is incorrectly designated as the eighth printing, but it is a new edition as the type was reset. Beach recounts that when Joyce first looked at this edition, he "eagerly scrutinized the first pages with the help of his two pairs of glasses plus a magnifying glass — and I heard an exclamation. Three errors already!" [45]

64. James Joyce, Ulysses, 1926 (eighth printing or second edition).


65. Advertisement for the eleventh printing of Ulysses, 1930.


Beach continued to publish Ulysses through 1930. The eleventh printing was to be the last published by Shakespeare and Company. The statement that 28,000 copies had been produced is a slight exaggeration. There were 1,000 copies of the first printing, 2,000 of the second, 500 of the third, 2,000 for each of the fourth through seventh printings, and 4,000 for each of the eighth through eleventh printings, making for a total of 27,500 copies (there were additional copies of each printing, which would raise the total slightly).