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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 175. Joyce, Schema for Ulysses, 1921-22.

Joyce, Schema for Ulysses, 1921-22

Lot Closed

December 10, 04:53 PM GMT


35,000 - 55,000 GBP

Lot Details



Schema For "Ulysses",

carbon copy typescript headed "Ulysses", listing the 18 episodes of the novel with corresponding "Tele", "Scene", "Hour", "Organ", Art", "Colour", "Symbol", "Technic", and "Correspondences", comprising four sheets (205 x 270mm, watermarked "Linen Paper | Lafuma Bertholet & Navarre | Voiron") glued together to form a single oblong sheet, 205 x 984mm, preserved in original envelope with a note by Joyce's publisher Sylvia Beach ("Plan of Ulysses | copy made by Benoist Méchin"), c. Autumn 1921/early 1922, minor staining from glue at intersection of sheets, a few tiny nicks at edges

One of three recorded pre-publication versions of the original schema or plan for Ulysses, created for the French translator of "Penelope", who suggested to Joyce the famous affirmative ending of the novel, Molly Bloom's climactic "yes".

There were probably never more than seven authorised copies of Joyce's celebrated Ulysses schema. Joyce circulated copies on an individual and very discreet basis to close initiates in his literary circle between 1920 and 1926 (the novel was published in February 1922), although later unauthorised copies also exist. The earliest, which provides a somewhat different text, was written in Italian for Joyce's friend Carlo Linati in 1920. The current example is one of three copies of the definitive English schema to precede the novel's publication, the other two being for the translator Valery Larbaud and the publisher Sylvia Beach. Between 1922 and 1926 Joyce made further copies available to Harriet Weaver, the translator Auguste Morel, and the scholar Herbert Gorman, from whose copy the schema was printed in 1930. Joyce attempted to restricted its circulation because he did not wish the schema to be used as an interpretative short-cut. As his friend and advisor Paul Leon explained: the schema or "chart... had an absolutely private character and was not meant for publication, least of all as an addition or interpretation of the text" (see H.K. Croessman, Joyce, Gorman and the Schema of Ulysses: An exchange of letters--Paul Leon, Herbert Gorman, Bennett Cerf, pp.10-11). 

The current typescript was produced when Jacques Benoîst-Mechin, "only twenty years old but clever and already one of Joyce's firm admirers" (Ellmann, p.521) was enlisted to translate the 'Penelope' section of the novel ahead of a lecture to be given in Paris in November 1921. Benoîst-Mechin asked to see the schema previously sent to Valery Larbaud (who was to give the lecture). Joyce initially only supplied a portion of it, allegedly declaring to Mechin, in one of the most celebrated and prescient of all his spoken comments on his work, that "If I give it all up immediately, I'd lose my immortality. I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality" (from Ellmann's interview with Benoîst-Mechin, 1956, quoted in James Joyce, 1982, p.521). However, the young admirer continued to press Joyce for the full schema or scheme, and eventually the full plan was supplied. The present lot therefore is the second earliest copy of the definitive English schema. The seven early copies are all distinct, and according to the accompanying note by Sylvia Beach the current example was typed by Mechin himself. It is also a carbon copy, but no accompanying top copy is known to survive.

Benoîst-Mechin made at least two very significant contributions to the text of Ulysses. Even before he became involved in translating Penelope Joyce had asked him to write out some musical notations for Ulysses; secondly, and most importantly, it was he who, engaged on the French translation of Molly Bloom's final soliloquy which ends the novel, famously added an affirmative "oui". Joyce had ended the novel "...and yes I said yes I will" but Benoîst-Mechin found "je veux" or "je veux bien" unsatisfactory. Joyce noticed the addition and Benoîst-Mechin explained his decision: "It sounds better that way". They talked over the question for several hours until eventually Joyce decided that "'I will' was too Luciferian, and 'yes' a submission to a world beyond himself" (see Ellmann, James Joyce, 1982, p.522). Thus Molly's soliloquy ends as it had started, with a climactic affirmation of reconciliation and love, and a revolt against history in all its forms as hatred and violence.

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