Skip to comments.Defaced first edition of ‘Ulysses’ valued at €13,500
Posted on 12/31/2013 9:13:28 AM PST by Borges
A first-edition copy of James Joyces novel Ulysses has been valued at 13,500 despite having been defaced by an irate reader who regarded the book as pornographic.
Galway-based rare book dealer Norman Healy, who acquired the book in London, said a previous owner had defaced the book by writing the comment a pornographic Bible on the famous blue paper cover beneath the title. The word pornographic is underlined.
Defaced books are often worthless but such is the desirability of first-edition copies of Ulysses it has been catalogued for resale at 13,500. Mr Healy said the book would normally be valued at about 10,500 but he believed the comment, added by a previous, less than enthusiastic owner, had enhanced the value.
The identity of the previous owner is not known but the defacement is likely to have occurred long before the books importance and financial value became apparent. The comment reflected the view, widely held in the early 20th century, that Ulysses was scandalous.
Ulysses was published in Paris on Joyces 40th birthday, February 2nd, 1922, by Sylvia Beach, an American publisher and founder of the Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company. A thousand numbered copies were printed, clad in soft covers that featured the title and the authors name in white on a blue background. A copy can be worth tens or hundreds of thousands of euro, depending on the condition and whether or not it was signed or inscribed by Joyce.
For collectors of rare books, Ulysses is said to be the most sought-after and valuable 20th century first edition. The most valuable are those rare examples that still have the fragile dust-jacket wrapper intact and were signed or inscribed by Joyce.
The defaced pornographic copy is missing half the dust jacket and was not signed by Joyce.
The highest price achieved to date for a first edition of Ulysses was for a copy, inscribed by Joyce to Henry Kaeser, a Swiss publisher, that was sold in 2002 at Christies, New York, to a private collector for $460,500 (333,600).
Of the 1,000 first-edition copies of Ulysses, 200 are reliably believed lost or destroyed. Of the 800 copies known to be extant, about half are in public collections including that of the National Library and the others are privately owned. Copies occasionally turn up at auction or for sale by dealers.
In the 1920s the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice ensured Ulysses was effectively banned in the United Sates and copies sent there were seized and destroyed by the post office. Despite strict censorship during the 20th century, Ulysses was not banned in Ireland but was not imported, for fear of a prosecution.
Even some of Joyces literary contemporaries expressed disapproval of the novel. DH Lawrence regarded Molly Blooms soliloquy at the end of the novel as the dirtiest, most indecent, obscene thing ever written and told his wife: This Ulysses muck is more disgusting than Casanova.
Virginia Woolf was shocked by the obscenity she encountered in Ulysses.
In 1934, a US court ruled that the book was neither pornographic nor and obscene. Further editions were then published and the novel became available worldwide.
I got through it once, but frankly it was hard slogging.
I enjoyed reading Portrait of the Artist and Dubliners, But Ulysses was a bridge too far.
And as for Finnegan’s Wake, forget it.
What is the point of reading something that can’t be enjoyed?
“I enjoyed reading Portrait of the Artist and Dubliners, But Ulysses was a bridge too far.”
I’ll second that.
It can be enjoyed. It’s a comic novel. Every section is written in a completely different style from the last so if you don’t like one just move on to the next.
Another example of how much of America's decline can be traced back to Federal Court decisions in the 1930s.
I always thought “Autobiography of a Flea” was much better.
“Lodge persuaded (Teddy) Roosevelt that Holmes was “safe,” meaning favorable towards Roosevelt’s progressive policies.” This was long before the 30s. The “fruit” of Holmes took root in the 30s.
Washington Ellis wrote a “Reply” which covers Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr’s removal of morality from “law”-—describing how he destroyed the “Justice” System ——Holmes removed the idea that Justice is a Virtue with moral relativism and an unconstitutional revisionism-—to remove the Objective Truth embedded in our Founding Documents—to eliminate “the laws of nature and nature’s God.” Whatever the court stated was “Good” is “Good”.
In other words-—Holmes removed morality from Law (which means we no longer have a “Justice” (Virtue) system-—we have a system (Rule of Man) which can make evil laws (unconstitutional, according to Justice John Marshall). Evil laws are “Null and Void” by their very nature-—as the Nuremberg Trials reiterated.
Holmes forced moral relativism into our “legal” system and erased the concepts of Good and Evil/God. “Without God, everything is permissible”. Dostoevsky
Law became man made-up rules which had no connection to God and Natural Law (Reason and Logic). All (Constitutional) Just Laws have to be Reasoned.
When you corrupt Law-—you destroy the culture. Always. (Cicero)
The Marxists/Fabian Socialists like Holmes—destroyed both our legal system—and took over education with John Dewey-—pervasive control of “ideas” so children are brainwashed and not educated.
It is a fluke if children graduate with Wisdom in today’s world. Wisdom is the ability to discern Good and Evil—(Cicero)-—which schools and media and courts deliberately blur and try to destroy 24/7 to corrupt the minds of our children.
Rare, small, and obscure objects of value are ingenious ways to store and transfer wealth. A rare first edition book will not attract attention by customs officials or the TSA. A SWAT team would likely overlook old dusty books, rare postage stamps, baseball cards etc as items of value.
Ulysses is not pornographic or obscene. Not by legal standards.
I liked Ulysses although Portrait of the Artist and The Dead (from Dubliners) are my favorites of his. I have to believe Finnegan’s Wake was written as a joke.
By whose legal standards — that’s the problem.
The Ulysses decision was the basis for establishing that you had to look at a work as a whole not and not just pick out the ‘naughty bits’.
It's defaced, I can't sell it like this!
Tell you what, I'll give you 20 bucks for it.
I’d rather see a picture of Rebecca