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Ulysses - 1934

by Joyce, James

  • Used
  • first
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New York: Random House, 1934. First American Edition. Very Good+/Very Good. First authorized American edition, first printing in first state jacket with designer's name, Reichl, at bottom of front panel. xvii, 768 pp. Original cream-colored cloth lettered in black and red. Very Good+ with toning to spine cloth and pages;d light foxing to cloth and textblock edge; Previous owner bookplate tipped in at front endsheet; hinge at title page slightly over-opened; discrete bookworm tracts to hinge at rear endsheet. In Very Good unclipped dust jacket showing general wear, edge wear with several edge tears repaired to the verso, soiling and a gentle, vertical crease to the spine. A nice copy of the once-banned modernist novel.

About this book

Ulysses is a modernist novel by James Joyce. It was first serialized in The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920 and later published by Shakespeare and Company in 1922. Originally, Joyce conceived of Ulysses as a short story to be included in Dubliners, but decided instead to publish it as a long novel, situated as a sort of sequel to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, picking up Stephen Dedalus’s life over a year later. Ulysses takes place on a single day, June 16, 1904, in Dublin - now celebrated as Bloomsday annually.

Within the massive text of 265,000 words (not so “short” anymore, eh?), divided into 18 episodes, Joyce radically shifts narrative style with each new episode, completely abandoning the previously accepted notions of plot, setting, and characters. The presentation of a fragmented reality through interior perception in Ulysses, often through stream-of-consciousness, is one of many reasons it is considered a paramount in Modernist literature. 

Ulysses presents a series of parallels with Homer’s epic poem Odyssey (Ulysses is the Latinized name of Odysseus.) Not only can correspondences be drawn between the main characters of each text — Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus, Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, and Molly Bloom to Penelope, but each of the 18 episodes of Ulysses reflects an adventure from the Odyssey.

In 1998, the American publishing firm Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

February 2022 will mark the centennial of the publishing of Ulysses, with auctions, sales, and celebrations by Joyce fans scheduled around the globe.

From our Book Collecting Guide: Collecting Ulysses

First edition identification

Unable to find a publisher in the U.S. or U.K., Ulysses was first published in book form by Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 1922. This first edition appeared in blue and white printed wrappers in an edition of only 1,000 copies which are among the most highly sought after modern first editions, commanding prices in the range of $40,000 - $75,000. A signed first edition could easily fetch over $100,000.


  • Title Ulysses
  • Author Joyce, James
  • Edition First American Edition
  • Condition Very Good+
  • Publisher Random House, New York
  • Date 1934
  • Bookseller's Inventory # 140938129