The Second Triennial Helen Warren DeGolyer Exhibition and American Bookbinding Competition, 2000
James Joyce (1882 – 1941), Ulysses (Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922). Printed for Sylvia Beach by Maurice Darantière at Dijon. First edition, no. 313 of 1000 copies. 23 x 18 cm. Bridwell Library Special Collections.
Ulysses, written in 1914–1921, first appeared in parts in the avant-garde serial the Little Review. Thanks to the vision of publisher Sylvia Beach, it survived early obscenity charges (it was banned in the United States until 1933), and in 1922 it came forth—"complete as written"—amid much fanfare and controversy in a "private and limited edition of 1000 copies." Of the first edition, 100 signed and numbered copies were printed on Dutch handmade paper; 150 numbered copies were produced on Vergé d'Arches paper, and 750 copies on handmade paper were numbered from 251 to 1000. All were issued in blue paper wrappers.
In Ulysses, Joyce uses symbolism, mythology, realism, and abstraction to record a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman in Dublin. Through his mundane activities, as well as his relations with his wife, Molly, his surrogate son Stephen Dedalus, and the people he encounters, Bloom reflects the modern urban Everyman in what Ezra Pound called "an impassioned meditation on life." Although the complexity of themes and the richness of motifs in Ulysses defy easy interpretation for the designers of its new binding, the challenge that comes with the opportunity to bind such a monument of English literature has engendered a lively competition full of artistic inspiration.