Paris: Bibliothèque-Charpentier, 1901. Full modern red buckram lettered in gilt, yellow publisher’s rear wrapper bound in. Ink signature of James Joyce (dated 1901) to half-title. Bookplate of Alexander Neubauer to front pastedown. Front wrapper missing; half-title torn with loss, with early tape repairs to verso; text block embrowned.
James Joyce’s personal copy of Flaubert’s great bildungsroman, intended as the moral history of his generation, first published in 1869. The novel follows a provincial young man in Paris, largely frustrated in his passions and ambitions, drawn back over the years into the circle of an older woman he once loved. This paperback edition bears the early ownership signature of James Joyce, dated 1901, when he was nineteen. Flaubert’s work was a lifelong touchstone for Joyce, who admired his precursor’s dedicated craftsmanship and commitment. Ezra Pound, in his review of Joyce’s own bildungsroman, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, noted that “Joyce produces the nearest thing to Flaubertian prose that we have now in English,” and in the character of Stephen Dedalus, Joyce created as problematic a young man as Flaubert’s Frederic Moreau. Stephen’s famous definition of the artist, “like the God of creation . . . within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails,” is lifted almost directly from one of Flaubert’s most famous letters. Provenance: James Joyce to unknown owner(s) to Ernest Boyd to Thomas Quinn Curtis to Alexander Neubauer. The modern binding dates from Boyd’s ownership. This copy is a primary source for Scarlett Baron’s Strandentwining Cable: Joyce, Flaubert, and Intertextuality (OUP, 2012). A great association.