April 2013 | Nate Pedersen

Leopold Bloom Comes to Letterpress

A crowdfunding campaign is currently underway to create a limited edition letterpress book of quotes from Leopold Bloom, protagonist of Ulysses.  Entitled The Works of Master Poldy, Yes the book will be a collaborative, trans-Atlantic effort between Jamie Murphy, a Dublin based letterpress printer and designer, and Steve Cole, a Joyce fanatic in Baltimore.  The creators hope to release the book on June 16th, a date better known to Joyce fans as Bloomsday.

Murphy and Cole previously collaborated on letterpress broadsides inspired by Ulysses, which are now sold out.  (Cole is also behind the multimedia LiberateUlysses project, which encourages multimedia engagement with Joyce's work). Their idea for "The Words of Master Poldy" came from the source itself. Toward the end of Joyce's masterpiece, Molly Bloom references assembling a book of quotes from her husband. She declares, "somebody ought to put him in the budget if I only could remember the one half of the things and write a book out of it the works of Master Poldy yes."  

Now that the Euoprean copyright on Joyce's published materials has expired, someone can.  Murphy and Cole plan to produce the entire book by hand, using a combination of metal and wood type with their letterpress.

The book will be officially published by The Salvage Press, a newly created entity by Murphy that has the goal of "preserving, promoting and pursuing excellence in design, typography and letterpress printing." The Works of Master Poldy, Yes will be its first publication.

If you pitch into the crowdfunding campaign, a variety of perks can be had at various contribution levels.  If you want the book itself, 280 euros will secure you one of the 100 being produced. 400 euros will buy you a deluxe edition, one of twelve, which will be hand bound in quarter leather with several hidden extras.  Other perks, for less money, include postcards, posters, and broadsides.