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JOYCE, James.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

London : 1916 Stock Code: 140235
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First edition, UK issue. Inscribed on the front free endpaper to the author Frederick Britten Austin, with Austin's note "signed for me F. Britten Austin" followed, in Joyce's hand, "by James Joyce Paris 1.1.39". The English writer Austin (1885-1941) published various short story collections, chiefly on military, maritime, and supernatural themes. Austin was a friend of Stuart Gilbert (1883-1969), who had befriended Joyce when offering his help with the French rendering of Ulysses, and who subsequently published a study of Ulysses in 1930 and a collection of Joyce's letters in 1957. It was probably through Gilbert that Austin solicited Joyce to inscribe the book for him. Joyce inscribed the book in unhappy circumstances, exhausted by illness, and drained by the task of making the final corrections to Finnegans Wake. The same day he inscribed the book, New Year's Day 1939, he wrote to Livia Svevo: "Finalmente ho finite di finire il mio libro. Sono già tre lustre che pettino e ripettinto la chioma di Anna Livia" ("I have at last finished finishing my book. For three lustra I have been combing and recombing the locks of Anna Livia" (Letters 3:435).
The book is offered together with three proof pages of the preliminaries for this UK issue (half-title recto, title page recto, and title page verso, each on its own leaf with versos blank), all housed together in a custom box. A Portrait of the Artist, Joyce's first novel, was printed in America by B. W. Huebsch, and issued there under Huebsch's imprint. Harriet Shaw Weaver, the proprietor of the Egoist Press, purchased "not more than 750" sets of the sheets, and issued them in the UK with new preliminaries bearing the Egoist imprint. "The first English edition sic - issue was made up of American sheets because English printers would not accept the responsibility of printing it... Gorman... quotes the refusals of seven printers, all on moral grounds. Under English law, unlike American, the printing of immoral writings is as actionable as their publication" (Slocum & Cahoon).

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Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine in gilt and in blind to front cover. Custom brown morocco-backed slipcase, black morocco labels; with chemises for book and accompanying material (see below).


Small area of surface rubbing at centre of front cover, gilt lettering a little faded as often, front inner hinge with superficial crack discreetly refurbished but holding firm. An excellent copy, unusually fresh for an inscribed Joyce.


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