One Book Called Ulysses

One Book Called Ulysses

The United States v One Book Called Ulysses
… and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down Jo me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
December 6, 1933

When Country Joe McDonald had 400,000 yell out his Fish Cheer on August 16, 1969 at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, he had James Joyce and one book called Ulysses to thank.

One Book Called Ulysses
One Book Called Ulysses


One Book Called Ulysses

Little Review serialization

Ulysses was serialized in the American journal The Little Review from 1918 to 1920. The publication of the Nausicaä episode led to a prosecution for obscenity. 

The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice objected to the book’s content and took action to attempt to keep the book out of the United States. At a New York trial in February 1921 the court declared the story obscene and, as a result, Ulysses was effectively banned in the United States.

In 1922, the American-born bookseller and publisher Sylvia Beach living in Paris released the whole novel in France.

Throughout the 1920s, the United States Post Office burned copies of the novel.

One Book Called Ulysses

Random House

In 1933, Random House publishers openly arranged to import the French edition and have a copy seized by customs. It then contested the seizure in United States v. One Book Called Ulysses.

The seizure of the work was contested in the United States District Court in New York City

One Book Called Ulysses

Judge John M. Woolsey

On December 6, 1933, Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that Ulysses was not pornographic—that nowhere in it was the “leer of the sensualist.”  Woolsey stated that the novel was serious and that its author was sincere and honest in showing how the minds of his characters operate and what they were thinking.

Woolsey wrote: If Joyce did not attempt to be honest in developing the technique which he has adopted in “Ulysses,” the result would be psychologically misleading and thus unfaithful to his chosen technique. Such an attitude would be artistically inexcusable.

He later wrote: “Ulysses” is an amazing tour de force ….It is brilliant and dull, intelligible and obscure…,I have not found anything that I consider to be dirt for dirt’s sake. Each word of the book contributes like a bit of mosaic to the detail of the picture which Joyce is seeking to construct for his readers.”     (click for full Woolsey text >>> Complete text)

On August 7, 1934, the Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision.

One Book Called Ulysses
from Molly Bloom’s soliloqy
One Book Called Ulysses


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