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University at Buffalo Libraries

The Poetry Collection

Case X: Ulysses in England

75. James Joyce, Ulysses, 1936.


In October 1931, Joyce wrote Weaver that it seemed like the ban on Ulysses in the U.S. would not last much longer, "I suppose England will follow suit as usual a few years later. And Ireland 1000 years hence." [55] Joyce was at least correct in terms of England. Although Woolsey's decision only had legal effect in the U.S., it made the threat of prosecution for an English edition of Ulysses somewhat less likely. After negotiating with various publishers, Joyce finally settled with The Bodley Head. In 1934 English printers were still too fearful of prosecution and so the Bodley Head edition did not appear until 1936. Bodley Head initially published a hefty deluxe edition, limited to 1,000 copies, 100 signed and bound in vellum and 900 bound in linen buckram (the buckram copy on display is one of an undetermined number of out-of-series presentation copies). This volume also included Woolsey's decision and other documents relating to the American trial as a pre-emptive defense against any possible charges. The Homeric bow on the cover was designed by Eric Gill.

76. Advertisement for the Bodley Head Ulysses, 1936.

Final and definitive edition | JAMES JOYCE'S | ULYSSES | TOGETHER WITH MUCH NEW APPENDIX MATERIAL CONTAINING | DOCUMENTS RELEVANT TO THE LEGAL HISTORY OF THE BOOK | & AN UP-TO-DATE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MR. JOYCE'S WORKS | [rule] | Limited to 1,000 numbered copies | divided as follows : | 100 copies on mould-made paper bound in calf vellum and | signed by the author : £6 6 0 net each | 900 copies on japon vellum paper bound in linen buckram, | unsigned : £ 3 3 0 net each | BINDING DESIGN BY ERIC GILL | [publisher's device] | JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD | BURY STREET LONDON WC1

Bodley Head based their edition on the text of the 1933 Odyssey Press printing and thus it was quite a bit more accurate than the flawed Random House edition from two years earlier. However, they also introduced new errors, thereby undermining their claim from a promotional flyer that their edition is "Final and definitive."

77. James Joyce, Ulysses, 1937.

ULYSSES | JAMES JOYCE | [publisher's device] | JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD | LONDON | 1937

Since the deluxe Bodley Head edition was met with no legal action, they decided to release a trade edition the following year. This was set on reduced plates and is effectively a shrunken version of the 1936 edition on regular paper. Some new corrections were made for this edition.

78. James Joyce, Ulysses, 1935 (Limited Editions Club, illustrations by Henri Matisse).

Ulysses [in script] | by James Joyce | [ornament] | WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY STUART GILBERT AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY | Henri Matisse | The Limited Editions Club | New York, 1935

Sensing that there might be a compelling need in American homes for a deluxe edition of Ulysses, George Macy (as in the New York department store Macy's) acquired the rights to publish a limited edition of Ulysses with illustrations by Henri Matisse for the Limited Editions Club. Random House agreed to this since a large, deluxe volume would not be a direct competitor to their trade edition. Matisse confessed that he never read Joyce's work and his illustrations are strictly Homeric, as can be seen by his illustration for the "Cyclops" episode on display here. Reproductions of Matisse's preparatory sketches are also included within the edition. A portfolio of Matisse's etchings was sold separately. The edition is essentially a coffee-table book for collectors. The text is set in two columns. Notably, the headings in "Aeolus" are each set in different fonts in an attempt to mimic newspaper headlines in a manner that Joyce never conceived of (different fonts are used elsewhere as well). These choices have aroused the opprobrium of various graphic artists, such as John Ryder — a book designer for The Bodley Head from 1957-1986 — who called this edition "a typographic travesty." [56] This edition also features an eleven-page introduction by Stuart Gilbert. The text is clearly based on the first Odyssey Press printing but contains additional revisions supplied by Gilbert (some of which are incorrect).

The copy on display is the one Joyce gave to his son and daughter-in-law and is inscribed: "To | Georgio and Helen | Xmas 1935: Paris | Babbo."