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JOYCE REMAINS KING OF THE IRISH WRITERS BUT AVID READERS STILL CANNOT FINISH ULYSSES
(Victoria, BC - March 8, 2005) Ulysses is acclaimed as the pinnacle of Irish literature but many readers still cannot finish James Joyce’s difficult-to-read classic, according to research conducted by AbeBooks.com - the world’s largest marketplace for new, used, rare and out-of-print books.
With St Patrick’s Day approaching, more visitors to AbeBooks.com have searched for James Joyce and Ulysses than other Irish author or book in the past 12 months, but an online poll revealed 39 per cent of readers had failed to finish reading the novel.
Most visitors to AbeBooks.com are highly educated fans of literature with around 45 per cent of visitors to the site’s discussion forum reading up to 10 books each month, yet Joyce’s 1922 book is beyond many of them.
Characterized by a complex stream-of-consciousness style of writing, the book encompasses a single day in Dublin with events and characters that mirror Ulysses’ journey home from Troy. AbeBooks.com lists 12 of the much sought-after first editions with prices ranging from $75,000 to $22,000 – only 1000 first editions were printed and it was banned by British authorities.
“Many people consider Ulysses to be the No.1 most collectible novel from the 20th century,” said Michael DiRuggiero, co-owner of The Manhattan Rare Book Company, which is offering two original 1922 copies for $60,000 and $40,000 respectively through AbeBooks.com.
“These are very fragile books because they were published with paper wrappers. They have to be treated gently. Due to financial restrictions and the very real threat of obscenity charges, the publisher, Shakespeare and Company, could only afford to print 1000 copies of the first edition, sold mostly through prepaid subscriptions. We get many, many enquiries about the first edition of Ulysses. Many people consider it to be the high-spot of 20th century fiction.”
Dracula creator Bram Stoker and poet Seamus Heaney – who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 – are the second and third most searched for Irish authors respectively on AbeBooks.com. However, 37 per cent of those polled were unaware of Stoker’s Dublin background.
Richard Davies, PR & Publicity Mgr., AbeBooks.com