On December 7 Christie’s auctioned off a signed first edition of Ulysses. The item sold for $170,000, no doubt in part of its highly interesting provenance. Joyce gave it to Annie Winifred Ellerman and Robert McAlmon after they had become friends in Paris in 1921. Both Ellerman and McAlmon had a significant impact on the volume. They helped finance this initial 100 volume printing and McAlmon served as Joyce’s typist for several early sections of the manuscript. The bookplate, designed with an Icelandic theme by George Plank, has a history of its own. In 1946 it was partially torn out by H.D. during a nervous breakdown in Lowndes Square, London, where she and Ellerman lived. The volume had been part of Ellerman’s collection. Ellerman, known as Bryher, was a novelist, poet, and magazine editor, and helped finance and encourage a number of prominent projects and authors. Visit the item listing at Christie’s here.
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