Getting the Right Blue on the Cover

Tasked with the challenges of typesetting Joyce’s ever-changing text, the printer Maurice Darantiere also faced difficulties related to Ulysses’ cover. Joyce’s long-held superstitions that Greece brought him good luck led him to insist that the book be bound in the colors of the Greek flag—blue and white. Darantiere provided Joyce with sample after sample of blue paper, none of which satisfied the finicky author. Less than a month before publication day, Joyce sent the small Greek flag hanging in Shakespeare and Company to the artist Myron C. Nutting, asking him to identify the right pigment. Darantiere then lithographed the “Greek-flag blue” onto white paper.

Final proof of cover for Ulysses
[Dijon: Maurice Darantiere, 1922]
Courtesy of the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York