Introduced by Danis Rose, John O’Hanlon and Stacey Herbert
Illustrated by John Vernon Lord
This fine edition of Joyce’s great modernist masterpiece contains the most authoritative text to date, and features a series of intricate illustrations by John Vernon Lord.
‘For seven years I have been working at this book – blast it!’ wrote James Joyce in a letter in 1920. What had started out as a short story entitled ‘Ulysses in Dublin’, intended as a rounding-off for Dubliners, had taken him over. Homer’s Odyssey had become the epic model for an epic journey – not this time from Troy to Ithaca, but, in the course of a single day, into the heart of Ireland’s capital. By the end of his journey, Joyce had created one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
‘It comes nearer to being the perfect revelation of a personality than any book in existence’
For this landmark edition – only available from The Folio Society – Joyce scholars Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon have returned to the original 1922 edition to create the most authoritative text to date. Included is an essay by the editors detailing their methodology, while Joyce expert Stacey Herbert has written a short history of the publication of this most notorious work.
The whole action of the story takes place in Dublin in less than 24 hours, from 8am on Thursday, 16 June 1904, into the small hours of the following morning. It is divided into 18 episodes that parallel (though not slavishly) the adventures of Ulysses as he makes his way back to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. In Joyce’s story, Leopold Bloom is Ulysses, his wife Molly is Penelope and Stephen Dedalus is Telemachus, and the book begins with the ‘Telemachia’ – Stephen leaving the Martello Tower where he’s being staying, after a row with his friend, teaching a class of small boys at a private school, and walking alone on the beach wrestling with his inner thoughts.
In Part Two we are introduced to Bloom as he begins his voyage through the day – taking breakfast up to his wife in bed, visiting the public baths, attending the funeral of an old acquaintance and bumping into Blazes Boylan on his way to an assignation with Bloom’s wife. Several times Bloom’s path nearly crosses with Stephen’s, and after an attack on Bloom by a one-eyed Irish Nationalist (the Cyclops), and an erotic experience on the same beach along which Stephen earlier walked, they finally bump into each other at the maternity hospital where Stephen is carousing with a group of medical students. Bloom ends up following a drunk Stephen to a brothel, where, following a brawl, Bloom rescues Stephen from the police and offers to look after him.
Part Three sees the men coming back to bleak reality over tea and buns in a cabman’s shelter – the story itself is told in an exhausted, hung-over style – before the two go back to Bloom’s house to discuss life into the early hours. As Bloom falls into bed, his wife wakes up and her whole past, in all its lyrical, sensual, life-affirming humanity, comes into her mind and heart in an unforgettable stream of images and emotions: ‘how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eye to ask again … and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.’
Ulysses is an immense and overwhelming book, the sheer scale of it apparent even in such a brief summing up. Eighteen different episodes, each told in a different way, packed with learning, fizzing with life, exciting, challenging, moving, but never solemn. Ulysses may chronicle a single day in a single city, but it teems with zestful humanity. Joyce is a man who keeps company with his characters. In the words of John Berger, who first ‘sailed’ into Ulysses when he was 14 years old, ‘he listened to their stomachs, their pains, their tumescences: he heard their first impressions, their uncensored thoughts, their ramblings, their prayers without words, their insolent grunts and their heaving fantasies’.
‘She blinked up out of her avid shameclosing eyes, mewing plaintively and long, showing him her milkwhite teeth. He watched the dark eyeslits narrowing with greed till her eyes were green stones. Then he went to the dresser took the jug Hanlon’s milkman had just filled for him, poured warmbubbled milk on a saucer and set it slowly on the floor’
Multi-award-winning artist and Joyce devotee John Vernon Lord has provided a series of extraordinary illustrations, as well as an iconic binding design. Describing the process as ‘a humbling experience’, Lord has also written a revealing introductory essay that places the images in context, illuminating the myriad meanings, symbols, events and inspirations behind each piece. Lord acts almost as a guide to the labyrinthine narrative. The praedella strip of images at the bottom of each illustration references the Linati ‘schema’, a way of navigating through the text created by Joyce for his friend Carlo Linati.
James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882. After graduating from University College Dublin in 1902, he moved to Paris, where, after a brief stint as a medical student, he devoted himself to writing. Much of the rest of his life was spent living on the Continent – in Trieste, Zurich and Paris – with his wife, Nora. His first published book was Chamber Music in 1907, a collection of poems. This was followed by Dubliners (1914) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). International fame came with the publication in Paris of Ulysses in 1922. In the same year he began work on Finnegans Wake, which was finally published, after seventeen years of composition, in 1939. Joyce died in Zurich in 1941.
Danis Rose is principal editor of the critical edition of Finnegans Wake first published by Houyhnhnm in 2010, and by The Folio Society in 2014. His publications include The James Joyce Archive: Volumes 28–63 (1977–8; with David Hayman and John O’Hanlon), The Index Manuscript (1978), Understanding Finnegans Wake (1982; with John O’Hanlon), The Lost Notebook (1989; with John O’Hanlon), The Textual Diaries of James Joyce (1995) and Ulysses: A New Reader’s Edition (2004). He was born in Dublin, and now lives in Glengarriff, West Cork.
John O’Hanlon has collaborated with Danis Rose in most of his Joyce related projects, in particular in the preparation of the extensive hypertext of Finnegans Wake. His expertise is in mathematics and physics, and he has been primarily responsible for the digital architecture essential to Rose’s textual constructions. He is the author of Love and Curiosity: the Cosmos (2011; with Danis Rose).
John Vernon Lord was born in Glossop, England, and studied Illustration in Salford and London. His children’s books have been published widely and translated into several languages. His picture book The Giant Jam Sandwich has become a classic, having been in print for over forty years, and his Aesop’s Fables won the W. H. Smith/V&A Illustration Award in 1990. He has illustrated many books on the subjects of fables, myths, legends, sagas, epics and nonsense. For The Folio Society he has illustrated a number of books, including British Myths and Legends (1998), Icelandic Sagas (2002), Epics of the Middle Ages (2005) and Finnegans Wake (2014). He was Professor of Illustration at the University of Brighton, where he is now Professor Emeritus. His studio has been based in Ditchling since 1971.
Stacey Herbert studied Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she was Mary Barnard Fellow in the Special Collections Library. Her research into Joyce’s bibliography, begun there, has taken her to related collections throughout the United States and Europe. She has curated exhibitions on Modernist fine press printing and on the history and legacy of works by W. B. Yeats, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett.
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Review by anon on 17th Jan 2018
"Bravo, bravo, Folio, for producing the most breath-stopping, heart-stealing non-limited edition I have ever seen (and I have seen very many of your editions over the years). In fact it outshines many ..." [read more]