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Friday, 15 December, 2000, 08:41 GMT
Ulysses chapter sells for $1.5m
Hand-written manuscript
The manuscipt is 27 pages long with many corrections
An autographed and hand-written chapter of James Joyce's novel Ulysses has raised a record $1.5m at auction - and is going back to Ireland.

It was bought by the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin.

"The price realized constitutes a record for an English-language literary manuscript as far as I'm aware and we are doubly delighted that it is returning to Ireland," said Christie's manuscripts specialist Chris Coover.


It was something of a bargain, I think

Edward Maggs, bidder
Edward Maggs, of Maggs Brothers Limited in London, made the winning bid on behalf of the Library.

He said the manuscript was being delivered to Dublin overnight.

"I think it is a great symbol of the new self-confidence of Ireland, and indeed of Dublin, that one of the most important texts relating to the city can at last be allowed back in," Mr Maggs added.

"It was something of a bargain, I think. It is a very important manuscript."

The text of the Circe episode, which comprises almost one-fifth of the entire novel, is the first entire chapter of Ulysses hand-written by Joyce to come to light in more than half a century.

It was sold at Christie's in New York by a relative of Irish-American lawyer and bibliophile John Quinn, who bought hand-written copies of the chapter from Joyce.

James Joyce
Joyce was forced to sell hand-written copies of the book's chapters
Christie's described the find as " an exceptionally important literary discovery".

The manuscript, which differs greatly from the published novel, is covered in Joyce's notations and corrections.

It describes the nightmarish journey of the novel's two central characters, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus, through the Dublin underworld.

'Masterpiece'

It is on 27 large sheets of graph paper, and the postmarked envelope in which Joyce sent the pages is also included.

"This manuscript is special because it's a part of one of the great 20th Century masterpieces, James Joyce's Ulysses, and it is a very important segment of Ulysses as well," said Mr Coover.

"All manuscripts are unique, but this one is particularly important because it is so extensive, and so heavily reworked by the author.

Mr Quinn bought a "fair copy" - clean, hand-written pages ready for the publishers - of the manuscript from Joyce when poet Ezra Pound told him of the Irish writer's financial difficulties.

The annotated and unfinished chapter was included by Joyce as an afterthought.

Convoluted

Ulysses is considered to be one of the most important novels of the 20th Century, and is widely held as being among the greatest novels ever written.

A complex book, using convoluted styles of narrative, it turned the literary world on its head when it was published in 1922.

Joyce was forced to defend his work against charges of pornography and the book was banned until the 1930s in Britain and the United States.

Joyce's literary reputation is fiercely guarded by the James Joyce estate.

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See also:

27 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Joyce film passed after 33 years
30 Jul 00 | Scotland
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06 Aug 98 | Entertainment
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