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JOYCE, James - ALBERTS, Julien.

A Bouquet of Blooms.

Essays by Will Barnet, Pieter Bekker, Claude Marks, Harry Sternberg, Steve Wheeler.

Nice: Nighttown Press, 1996 Stock Code: 140014
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A compelling view of Joyce's "nighttown"

First edition, number 33 of 200 copies including an additional print, from a total edition of 650. This is a powerful evocation of chapter 15 of Ulysses, customarily referred to as the Circe episode: Joyce's hero Leopold Bloom, along with Stephen Dedalus and Vincent Lynch, visit Dublin's red-light district, known familiarly as the Monto, but which Joyce calls "nighttown", the haunt of "women of ill fame and swell mobsmen".

Julien Alberts (1916-1986) studied at the Art Students League of New York. He exhibited at the Whitney, MoMa, and the Met, and had many one-man shows. These woodcuts were first published, in reduced size, as "A Bouquet for Bloom" in Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal in 1972 (Vol. 6, No. 1). Here they receive plaudits from five contributors, including Alberts's teacher, the distinguished printmaker Harry Sternberg, who writes touchingly, "I recall my reactions when Julien first talked about wanting to do a set of illustrations for Ulysses. Why, I wondered was this shy, quiet and most sensitive of all my students attracted by the book, and was he capable of the epic qualities that were demanded by such a project? He has produced a splendid work of art with a fine mixture of intuition and intellect I am indeed proud of him".

It is interesting to speculate that Alberts may have been inspired also by Marjorie Barkentin's play Ulysses in Nighttown, which had a successful off-Broadway run in 1958, garnering Zero Mostel an Obie Award for his portrayal of Bloom. This is a fine edition, Alberts's work showing a deep indebtedness to German Expressionism.

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Elephant folio. Original pale yellow marbled heavy card portfolio, window to front cover, black cloth ties.


10 woodcut by Alberts, relief prints by Keith Garrison, all with tissue guards and loose in portfolio; the additional print showing Joyce and T. S. Eliot at the entrance to "nighttown".


Lower flap of portfolio detached but present, pale brown splash-stain across lettering of title page, otherwise an excellent copy.


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