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London: Grant Richards Ltd, 1914 - Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to front cover and spine gilt. Housed in a custom red quarter morocco and cloth slipcase, with matching chemise. Spine slightly faded, small white mark to centre of spine, light foxing to contents. A very good copy. First edition, first impression, presentation copy, inscribed by the author in the month of publication on the half-title, "With the writer's compliments James Joyce Trieste 23 June 1914". This is one of the earliest copies inscribed by Joyce: under his onerous contract with Grant Richards, he was obliged to purchase 120 copies of the book himself, and this copy would have been among the first batch sent out from London to the author after the official publication date, 15 June. Trieste was then in the grip of tight postal restrictions, with the Great War only days away, and foreigners in particular were subject to customs inspections and postal delays. Joyce mentions these a number of times in his letters around this date. Rare: just three inscribed copies of Dubliners appear in auction records since 1975, of which only one other was inscribed in the month of publication (the other two were signed by Joyce much later, in the late 1920s). In a typical piece of self-promotion, Joyce has not only inscribed the book, but also inserted in it "Press Notices of Chamber Music", carefully reprinted from his scrapbook of clippings. Following Ellman, the traditional wisdom has been that Joyce requested Grant Richards to print the leaflet for him, but this is extremely unlikely. It would have been quite out of character for Grant Richards to agree to print a puff for any production of Elkin Mathews, his commercial rival, and it is clear from the leaflet's appearance that it was Joyce himself who had the leaflet printed in Italy. There is no contact address given for Elkin Mathews; the typography and paper size are both characteristically Italian, rather than English; and the punctuation is eccentric at a time when Joyce was mulling over his reinvention of punctuation for Portrait. The press release is unrecorded as an original Joyce item, though, as it was clearly assembled from press cuttings and published by Joyce, it rightly belongs in the bibliography. Slocum & Cahoon 8. [Attributes: First Edition; Signed Copy]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2018-02-28           Check availability:      ZVAB    


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