Dubliners by James Joyce
First Edition, First Impression – Limited to 746 Copies
Published by Grant Richards, London in 1914
Unique Onlaid Leather Binding by Jamie Kamph
Binding Details: Jamie Kamph has created a stunning unique binding for Dubliners which is bound in full purple Harmatan goatskin leather with elaborate multi-colored leather inlays of various images from the Dublin cityscape as well a bicycle, beer bottles, and doorway that appear on the covers as well as the spine which also has gold gilt titling. There are Payhembury hand-marbled endpapers and hand-sewn silk headbands. All page ends are gold gilted. The book is housed in a custom made diagonal weave linen solander box that has a gold tooled leather title label in the shape of a beer bottle. Jaime Kamph’s Stonehouse Bindery gold gilted stamp appears on the bottom edge of the inside back cover.
In her artist statement, Jamie Kamph commenting on her design concept for Dubliners wrote, “The design relates to the other James Joyce bindings that I have done: on the later books I used the cityscape of Dublin as a motif to suggest that the protagonists had moved out beyond the confines of this city. It is Ireland from the outside looking in. For this early book, I used the architectural elements to suggest walls within walls which the protagonists of the stories are trapped. They are inside dreaming of escape. Escape is suggested by the red windows and wheels of the bicycle. The bottle and glass images represent the easy fallback habit of drinking.”
The book measures approximately 7.875” x 5” with 278 pages. Included with the book is a signed artist statement by Jamie Kamph that contains information about the book and binding.
Book Details: This is the true First Edition, First Printing, First Impression of James Joyce’s “Dubliners” published by Grant Richards, London in 1914. This is one of 746 sets of sheets bound by Grant Richards and issued in London on 15 June 1914, with the remaining 504 sets of the 1,250 printed shipped to Huebsch in New York where it was published later, sometime between 15 December 1916 and 1 January 1917. (Slocum and Cahoon A8)
The British Museum wrote an excellent summary and review of the book, “Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by the modernist Irish writer James Joyce, concerning everyday events in the primarily lower-middle class life of Dublin. The stories move through tales of childhood, adolescence, adulthood and public life, tracing the routines, desires, inadequacies and delusions of the city’s inhabitants. ‘My intention’, wrote Joyce, ‘was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis’. As the critic Katherine Mullin has written, ‘these are stories of frustrations great and small, of illusions lost, of deep loneliness, of fractured marriages, of lives of ‘commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness’. They are peopled with a cast of destitute conmen, failed artists, timid spinsters, bullied shop girls, misanthropic celibates, and belligerent, lonely drunks. These are stories of desperate lives lived on the margins; the lives Joyce knew’.
The collection’s complicated publication history – a ‘fiasco’ according to Joyce – began with the author sending 12 stories to the publisher Grant Richards on 3 December 1905. Richards initially agreed to publish but in 1906 he and his printer objected to elements of the book. In letters to Richards in 1906, Joyce condemned the censorship laws in England and defended the tone of his stories by stating that he was merely an artist presenting unaltered ‘what he has seen or heard’. Finally, after the poet Ezra Pound had arranged for the serial publication of Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in The Egoist magazine, Richards published the book in 1914.
The last and longest story, ‘The Dead’, was written in 1907 and is often described as ‘the finest short story in English’. ‘The Dead’ is both a meditation on the petty underlying frustrations of urban life, as well as a poignant depiction of our relationships and responsibilities to each other, of memory and the politics of nationalism, our connection to the land, its past, our place in it, and the language we use to describe it.”
About the Artist: Jamie Kamph is an author, educator, book conservator, and artist widely recognized as one of most knowledgeable and accomplished bookbinders in the world. She began her career working with Hope G. Weil before opening her own studio, The Stonehouse Bindery, in 1973. Her writings on bookbinding have been widely published in magazines and she is the author of “A Collectors Guide to Bookbinding, published by in 1982 by the Bird and Bull Press and “Tricks of the Trade: Confessions of a Bookbinder”, published by the Oak Knoll Press in 2015. Her design bindings are housed in private collections and institutions worldwide including Princeton University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pierpont Morgan Library, the New York Public Library, and the Bridwell Library at the University of Texas. Many of her other bindings have been widely exhibited in such places as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Grolier Club, Yale University, and the Aspen Art Institute. In 2003, she was awarded the Helen Ward DeGolyer Award for American Bookbinding.
Condition Report: Both the book and the clamshell box are in FINE condition. Internally, the book is in exceptional condition with no flaws.
Photographs of the binding, solander box, and Jamie Kamph’s artist statement appear in the photo section of the listing.