JOYCE (JAMES) Ulysses, ninth printing, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO H.G. WELLS, INSCRIBED "To H.G. Wells respectully James Joyce, 5 November 1928 Paris" on the front free endpaper, Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1927

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Lot 153
JOYCE (JAMES)
Ulysses, ninth printing, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO H.G. WELLS, 1927

Sold for £ 25,250 (US$ 34,849) inc. premium
MODERN LITERATURE

The Property of a Collector
JOYCE (JAMES)
Ulysses, ninth printing, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO H.G. WELLS, INSCRIBED "To H.G. Wells respectully James Joyce, 5 November 1928 Paris" on the front free endpaper, bound in full black goatskin BY SALLY LOU SMITH (gilt-stamped "SLS" at rear and on spine of case), the covers and spine tooled in blind with black, brown, grey, ochre and yellow onlays to an abstract design of "Dublin at night", inside covers tooled in gilt with abstract design, yellow and grey Japanese endpapers, g.e., preserved in felt-lined quarter black morocco solander box by Sally Lou Smith, 4to, Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1927

Footnotes

  • ULYSSES INSCRIBED BY JAMES JOYCE TO H.G. WELLS - IN A SALLY LOU SMITH DESIGNER BINDING.

    A fine association copy linking two of the great twentieth century writers. H.G. Wells was an important early advocate of Joyce, writing a highly favourable review of his first book A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and describing it as "a book to buy and read and lock up, but it is not a book to miss. Its claim to be literature is as good as the claim of the last book of Gulliver's Travels... No single book has ever shown how different they [English and Irish sensibilities] are, as completely as this most memorable novel" (The New Republic, 10 March 1917).

    This copy was inscribed for Wells on 5 November 1928. Later that month, on 23 November, Wells wrote to Joyce that "I have enormous respect for your genius dating from your earliest books and I feel now a great personal liking for you but you and I are set upon absolutely different courses... [but] You have turned your back on common men — on their elementary needs and their restricted time and intelligence, and you have elaborated. What is the result? Vast riddles. Your last two works have been more amusing and exciting to write than they will ever be to read... Who the hell is this Joyce who demands so many waking hours of the few thousand I have still to live", signing off with obvious warmth that "I can't follow your banner any more than you can follow mine. But the world is wide and there is room for both of us to be wrong". In 1928 sections of what was to become Finnegan's Wake were published under the title Work in Progress, and it has been assumed that Wells' letter to Joyce was written in response to a request for his public support of this work. The surfacing of the present inscribed copy suggests that Wells's comments were perhaps also incorporating his thoughts on Ulysses.

    The fine designer binding was made in 1981 by Sally Lou Smith (1925-2007), who, commenting on her inspiration for the design, stated that "The idea gradually formed that my view of the book ["Ulysses"] was the city: Dublin: Dublin at night".

    Provenance: H.G. Wells; purchased by the vendor at the auction of the remaining contents of North End House, Rottingdean, East Sussex. The Property of Lady Jones C.B.E. (Miss Enid Bagnold), Christie's, 16 October 1980.
Contacts
JOYCE (JAMES) Ulysses, ninth printing, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO H.G. WELLS, INSCRIBED "To H.G. Wells respectully James Joyce, 5 November 1928 Paris" on the front free endpaper, Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1927
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