An Egoist Copy Saved from the Fire

Harriet Shaw Weaver was finally able to bring out her Egoist Ulysses in an edition of two thousand copies in October 1922. To evade legal troubles in England, she partnered with John Rodker to print it in France, from Sylvia Beach’s typeset plates. Bound in the same blue wrappers, its resemblance to the first edition initially unsettled Beach.

In December 1922 Weaver learned that US Customs had seized up to five hundred copies of her shipment to America, prompting her to commission five hundred replacements from the printer right away. Joyce took the opportunity to correct some of the hundreds of errors made by the French typesetters in the Beach’s first edition. The replacements never made it to America either, however, as British Customs destroyed the books in the harbor. This is one of approximately seven known copies of the five hundred replacements to survive.

James Joyce (1882–1941)
London: published for the Egoist Press by John Rodker, Paris, 1922 [i.e., 1923]
The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund for the Sean and Mary Kelly Collection, 2017: PML 196725