James Joyce's Ulysses
Home > Finnegans Wake – Fragments
The Ondt and the Gracehoper. Chicago: The Compulsive Printer, 1975. Illustrated with original serigraphs and block prints by Joseph D'Ambrosio. One of 50 numbered copies, signed by the artist. This retelling of the classic Aesop fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper" is extracted from Finnegans Wake and reveals Joyce's more playful side, admirably captured in D'Ambrosio's graphics. The case for the book includes a relief in 23k-carat gold.
Tales Told of Shem and Shaun: Fragments from Work in Progress. Paris: The Black Sun Press, 1929. With an original etching by Brancusi. One of 100 copies on Japanese vellum, signed by Joyce. Although he produced little graphic art, the sculptor Brancusi's avant-garde reputation seems to have been behind his selection to create this frontispiece, which precedes a preface by C. K. Ogden on the work's linguistic experimentation. The abstract design is intended as a representation of Joyce, which Brancusi felt expressed the "sens du pousser" he found in the Irish writer. Ellmann reports that when the sketch was shown to Joyce's father, he remarked gravely, "The boy seems to have changed a good deal."
Two "popular" editions of fragments from "Work in Progress" [Finnegans Wake]. Anna Livia Plurabelle. London: Faber & Faber, 1930; and Haveth Childers Everywhere. London: Faber & Faber, 1931. These inexpensive 1 shilling paperback editions of pre-publication excerpts from Finnegans Wake, meant to reach a wider public, were surely among the most puzzling texts ever presented to a general audience. By the third sentence of Haveth Childers Everywhere, for example, with its reference to "the first of Shitric Shilkanbeard (or is it Owllaught MacAuscullpth the Thord?)," any but the hardiest reader must have counted the shilling a dead loss.
Our Exagmination Round his Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1929. First edition. One of 96 copies on verge d'arches. This collection of essays by the circle of writers and scholars surrounding Joyce in Paris, was meant to introduce the world to the significance of James Joyce's new work, which was, in Samuel Beckett's words, not about something, but that something itself: "And if you do not understand it, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is because you are too decadent to receive itů. Here form is content, content is formů. When the sense is sleep, the words go to sleepů When the sense is dancing, the words dance." Beckett's essay was his first appearance in print. Although he was never Joyce's secretary, as has sometimes been said, he did help Joyce by taking down parts of the novel in progress directly from Joyce's dictation.
The Mime of Mick, Nick and the Maggies, a fragment from Work in Progress [Finnegans Wake]. The Hague: Servire Press, 1934. With cover design, opening initial, and tailpiece by Lucia Joyce. One of 29 copies on Simili Japon, signed by Joyce and his daughter. Lucia, whose signs of mental derangement were becoming more and more evident, suffered from schizophrenia. Her attachment to Samuel Beckett, which the young Irish writer could not reciprocate, was extremely painful for both of them. By the time this book appeared, she had already been hospitalized once. She was later institutionalized for the remainder of her life.
pr6019-o9-s8_00002 (7K) Storiella as she is syung. London: Corvinus Press, 1937. Also a pre-publication fragment from "Work in Progress" (Finnegans Wake). One of 175 copies bound in orange vellum, with an initial letter by Lucia Joyce. By 1936, Lucia had been hospitalized repeatedly, although Joyce's attitude was still that she was no madder than her father. It is clear that Joyce hoped her involvement in creating initials for his work would prove therapeutic.