Monday, February 8, 2010


Recently finished Ulysses by James Joyce, went back and skimmed over it again, and then read some parts multiple times, as there is so much depth to the book. What an amazing novel. How can a day in the life of three people possibly be so interesting? Joyce was a genius, and I am not one to use that term lightly. Ironically, this picture of Joyce looks very much like a freind of mine that is also a writer I enjoy, having earned his PhD in English, with his dissertation on Southwestern lit.

When Joyce first wrote the book, it was not allowed for import into the United States. The "Inspector Javert" types of the time deemed it obscenity. Though the book was written in 1921, it was not able to be legally imported into the United States until 1933 when Judge Woolsey overturned the charge. It is fun to read from his ruling on the matter:

After I had made my decision in regard to the aspect of "Ulysses" ... I checked my impressions with two friends of mine ... They are men whose opinion on literature and on life I value most highly. They had both read "Ulysses", and, of course, were wholly unconnected with this cause. I was interested to find that they both agreed with my opinion ... that its net effect on them was only that of a somewhat tragic and very powerful commentary on the inner lives of men and women.

It is very easy to look back now, and see how stupid it was to ban Ulysses - even though I would still not recommend it for children or youth. But, we still have Javerts running around, trying to force, coerce, and terrorize people. The "Great Eldorado Roundup" is certainly an example of this, but there are unfortunately many more examples of JRA - "Javert Run Amok."

Fight Bigotry!

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