THE MOST IMPORTANT OBTAINABLE COPY OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL NOVEL OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY:
“TO STANNIE | JIM”
ONE OF THE FIRST PRESENTATION COPIES OF THE FIRST EDITION OF ULYSSES, INSCRIBED BY JAMES JOYCE TO HIS BROTHER STANISLAUS.
FIRST EDITION, number 308 of 750 copies printed on handmade paper. A presentation copy, inscribed by Joyce to his brother, Stanislaus Joyce, on the front blank: “To Stannie | Jim | Paris | 11 February 1922”.
On the relationship between the brothers Stanislaus and James Joyce:
“I received ‘Ulysses’ in good order…. I suppose “Circe” will stand as the most horrible thing in literature…. Isn’t your art in danger of becoming a sanitary science…. I recognize, of course the almost unlimited adaptability of your style.”
– Stanislaus, in a letter to James Joyce, on February 26, 1922, referring to this copy.
"The steadiest influence available was his brother. Stanislaus might be tedious, but he was a rock.”
– Richard Ellmann
Stanislaus’s relationship with Joyce was (as with most brothers) a complicated one. Three years his junior, Stanislaus often idolized his older brother, even making notes of Joyce’s clever remarks in his diary. Stanislaus was also among the first to recognize Joyce’s genius, and probably best understood it, which most likely helped him accept the unpredictable nature of Joyce’s temperament in later years. In 1903 Stanislaus recorded the following account of their relationship in his diary:
My life has been modeled on Jim’s example, yet when I am accused by my unprepossessing Uncle John or Gogarty of imitating Jim, I can truthfully deny the charge. It was not mere aping as they imply, I trust I am too clever and my mind too old for that. It was more an appreciation in Jim of what I myself really admire and wish for most. But it is terrible to have a cleverer older brother. I get small credit for originality. I follow Jim in nearly all matters of opinion, but not all. Jim, I think has even taken a few opinions from me. In some things, however, I have never followed him. In drinking, for instance, in whoring, in speaking broadly, in being frank without reserve with others, in attempting to write verse or prose or fiction, in manner, in ambition, and not always in friendships. I perceive he regards me as quite commonplace and uninteresting — he makes no attempts at disguise — and though I follow him fully in this matter of opinion I cannot be expected to like it. It is a matter beyond the power of either of us to help.
In 1904, when Joyce eloped with Nora Barnacle, whom he declined to marry, he was regarded by friends and family alike as both foolish and misguided. Stanislaus, though, staunchly defended his brother to his critics and started an active correspondence, which he maintained throughout most of their lives while separated. It was not long before Stanislaus, at Joyce’s imploring, joined them in Trieste, and for the next fourteen years he acted in turn as his brother’s counsellor, protector, literary agent, and financial backer. He would frequently carry Joyce home from bars in a comatose state, and much of Stanislaus’ modest earnings would end up in Joyce’s more extravagant pocket. When Joyce and Nora were thrown out of their rooms for non-payment of rent, Stanislaus bailed them out. He was also a constant literary influence, not only as a source of reassurance as Joyce received a steady stream of rejection slips between 1906 and 1914, but in his important practical assistance. It was he who suggested the title for Chamber Music and put the poems in order, and when, just prior to publication, Joyce decided their sentiment was false and wanted to cancel the printing, it was Stanislaus who persuaded him that he should allow the book to appear, in the interest of his future literary career. That Joyce would not have had the same recognition and output without Stanislaus’ influence is almost irrefutable. As Ellmann noted, “The steadiest influence available was his brother. Stanislaus might be tedious, but he was a rock.”
Joyce, however, showed scant gratitude, and would regularly “forget” to repay the money lent to him by Stanislaus. He had initially talked of dedicating Dubliners to Stanislaus, but this, too, seemed to slip his mind when it came to publication, and during the transformation of Stephen Hero (a title suggested by Stanislaus) into the largely autobiographical A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the main casualty was Maurice, Stephen’s brother. Stanislaus never mentioned these injustices, but the enduring memory of them, coupled with Joyce finding himself in less need of his brother’s support, resulted in their relationship being immutably altered, so much so that after Joyce moved to Paris in June 1920 to prepare for the publication of Ulysses, they were to meet only three more times, though they continued to correspond, and Stanislaus was instrumental in forwarding some of Joyce’s papers from Trieste so he could complete the work. A sign of residual brotherly affection, though, can be seen in Stanislaus naming his son, and only child, James in 1943.
Throughout the formation of his literary career, virtually up to the point of completion of Ulysses, Stanislaus had been a constant, constructive presence in Joyce’s life. This copy conceivably marks a belated acknowledgement of his contribution, and while the brevity of the inscription may seem at odds to that idea, its length and form are almost identical to those in the other known copies inscribed in February 1922 copies. However, Joyce’s use here of the personal diminutive “Jim”—one he reserved for only the closest of family inscriptions—is unique among these copies, and can be construed as further testimony to their intimate connection and shared history. Just one other first edition of Ulysses, a defective press copy inscribed to his aunt (now at the University of Tulsa), is known to be inscribed “Jim”.
Stanislaus’s fondness and admiration for his brother continued throughout his life. When he died (on Bloomsday, 16 June 1955) he left behind a huge archive relating to Joyce’s life and work, including troves of saved letters, manuscripts, photographs, and documents. The archive has contributed greatly to Joyce scholarship, used extensively by Richard Ellmann in his definitive biography of James Joyce published in 1959.
Presentation copies of the first edition:
Of the 1,000 numbered copies of the first edition, Joyce only inscribed ten numbered copies in February 1922, the month of publication. The earliest example is supposedly #901, one of the first two books delivered to Paris on Joyce’s birthday on February 2nd, and subsequently inscribed to his wife, Nora (the second Sylvia Beach displayed in the window of Shakespeare and Company). The Irish painter Arthur Power told Joyce biographer Richard Ellmann that Joyce had bestowed this to Nora in his presence, but the copy is now lost.
After that, the remaining nine are: two on the same date as this copy (#282, to Lewis Galantière; #309 to C. P. Curran, now at University College, Dublin); five on February 13th, all from the signed series of 100 on Dutch handmade paper, to Harriet Weaver (#1), Sylvia Beach (#2), Margaret Anderson (#3), Valery Larbaud (#4) and Richard and Lillian Wallace (#7); one on February 14th to Robert McAlmon (#300); and one on February 23rd to Gustave Fernandez (#56), also from the series of 100. In addition, there are three unnumbered press copies: one inscribed to Djuna Barnes on February 16th, one to Sisley Huddleston (February 17th), and the other to Ezra Pound (February 27th). The press copy inscribed to Muriel Ciolkowska has no calendar date, but is annotated instead “Mi-Carême 1922,” which translates to “Middle of Lent 1922”; Ash Wednesday fell on March 1st of that year, which places this copy’s inscription around March 20th. Of these twelve extant copies, ten are in research libraries or foundations, with just two – this and the heavily distressed Galantière copy – remaining in private hands.
Joyce, James. Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare & Company, 1922. 8vo.; blank leaf [*]2 bound between [**]4 and 1 (cf. Slocum & Cahoon 17); bound without wrappers for the recipient in full chocolate calf with gilt titles to upper cover blocked to match the lettering on the wrappers; boards slightly bowed, some wear to corners and lower part of spine.
Provenance: Stanislaus Joyce (1884–1955) (presentation inscription from the author); Joyce family, by descent; Jonkers Rare Books; private owner; offered on behalf of private owner by The Manhattan Rare Book Company.
Price: $1,250,000 .