"Did the artistic aspirations of Ulysses make its salacious parts
any less salacious? This work of scrupulous scholarship is an
entertaining and important book that traces the fascinating
historical details behind the Ulysses trials. It shows that judge
Woolsey's famous decision was based on testimony by experts who
were calculating, fuzzy, and illogical. Vanderham exposes some of
the facile pieties about Art that have prevailed in the academy and
the courts ever since. His analysis has important implications for
the law, helping us see that such judicial decisions should have a
different basis altogether."
--E. D. Hirsch, Jr.Author of Cultural Literacy: What Every American
Needs to Know
When James Joyce's Ulysses began to appear in installments in
1918, it provoked widespread outrage and disgust. The novel
violated a long list of taboos by denigrating English royalty,
describing masturbation, and mingling the erotic with the
excremental--in a style that some early reviewers called literary
bolshevism. As a result, U.S. Postal authorities denied several
installments of Ulysses access to the mails, initiating a series of
suppressions that would result in a thirteen-year ban on Joyce's
novel. Obscenity trials spanned the next decade. Using personal
interviews and primary sources never before discussed in depth,
James Joyce and Censorship closely examines the legal trials of
Ulysses from 1920 to 1934.
Paying particular attention to the decision that lifted the ban
on Ulysses in 1933, a decision that the ACLU cites to this day in
cases involving censorship, Vanderham traces the growth of the
fallacy that literature is incapable of influencing individuals. He
argues persuasivelythat underneath every esthetic lie ethical,
political, philosophical, and religious convictions. The legal and
the literary aspects of the Ulysses controversy, Vanderham insists,
are virtually inseparable. By analyzing the writing and revising of
Ulysses in the context of Joyce's lifelong struggle with the
censors, he argues that the censorship of Ulysses affected not only
the critical reception of the novel but its very shape.
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