Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Dust Jacket
ULYSSES BY JAMES JOYCE The paper wrapper or dust jacket with which copies of the original edition of Ulysses were covered featured the two colours of the Greek flag - blue and white - at Joyce's own request.
On 2 February 1922 Joyce, his future wife Nora Barnacle and a number of their friends went to Ferrari's restaurant in Paris to celebrate the publication of Ulysses, which had taken place that very day, the author's fortieth birthday.
He had brought with him a package containing his copy of Ulysses, and placed it under his chair. Nora remarked that he had thought about the book for sixteen years, and spent seven years writing it. Everyone asked to see it opened, but he seemed to shrink from producing it. After the dessert he at last untied the parcel and laid the book on the table. It was bound in the Greek colours - white letters on a blue field - that he considered lucky for him, and suggesting the myth of Greece and Homer, the white island raising from the sea. There was a toast to the book and its author which left Joyce deeply moved.
—Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Revised edition (1982), p. 524.
- Nutting had mixed the exact shade of blue for him, since the binders could not get it right and needed something to copy. [Ellmann's footnote. Myron Nutting (1890-1972) was an American artist who became acquainted with Joyce in Paris in 1921; Ellmann (op. cit.), p. 516.]