By Jon Harvey
PHILADELPHIA — Dublin was the setting for James Joyce’s "Ulysses," continental Europe the author’s home, but an Irish American financed its publication.
John Quinn, a New York lawyer and patron of the arts, paid James Joyce $1,200 for the unfinished handwritten manuscript of the text that would go on to be named the most influential English-language book of the 20th century by The Modern Library.
In 1924 illness forced Quinn to sell his impressive collection, including the Joyce manuscript. Bibliophile, book dealer and collector Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach bought the autograph manuscript for $1,975, a sum considered scandalously low by Joyce. Rosenbach offered to purchase the typeset plates as well, but must have misspelled the book: Joyce, playing on the meaning of Rosenbach’s name in German, wrote to a friend: