A very special book by John Morgan—the result of a close observation of the blue cover and form of the first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Usylessly duplicates the size, bulk and appearance of the 1922 Shakespeare and Co. edition. Everything but the text. At the heart of the mostly blank 736 page book is a printed sixty-four page section containing two essays written twenty-seven years apart by Edward L. Bishop and Ted Bishop. The first essay, “Re-Covering Ulysses,” was initially published in Joyce Studies Annual in 1994 and explores the ‘non-literary’ aspects of the book, charting, as Bishop explains, “the movement of Ulysses the book – the physical object with its various jackets, blurbs, ads and price tags – from modernist work to social document, to status object, to cultural artefact to, finally, what seems to be a kind of futures commodity in the freewheeling post-copyright market.” The second essay, “Ulysses Blue,” published here for the first time, starts its journey in the archive of the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas with over forty copies of the 1922 edition and follows Morgan and Bishop on the quest for the blue cover, which for Joyce had to be blue – “The colours of the binding (chosen by me) will be white letters on a blue field – the Greek flag though really of Bavarian origin and imported with the dynasty. Yet in a special way they symbolise the myth well – the white islands scattered over the sea.” [publisher’s note]


Published by John Morgan Studio, 2021
Design by John Morgan Studio, who else?
Artists' Books / Literature / Graphic Design / Book Culture

Price: 65€

MORGAN, John - Usylessly