The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses

The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses❰Read❯ ➪ The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses Author Kevin Birmingham – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk For than a decade, the book that literary critics now consider the most important novel in the English language was illegal to own, sell, advertise or purchase in most of the English speaking world Ja For than Dangerous Book: PDF ↠ a decade, the book that literary critics now consider the most important novel in the English language was illegal to own, sell, advertise or purchase in most of the English speaking world James Joyce s big blue book, Ulysses, ushered in the modernist era and changed the novel for all time But the genius of Ulysses was also its danger it omitted absolutely nothing All of the minutiae of Leopold Bloom s day, including its unspeakable details, unfold The Most PDF or with careful precision in its pages The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice immediately banned the novel as obscene, lewd, and lascivious Joyce, along with some of the most important publishers and writers of his era, had to fight for years to win the freedom to publish it The Most Dangerous Book tells the remarkable story surrounding Ulysses, from the first stirrings of Joyce s inspiration into its landmark federal obscenity trial inLiterary historian Kevin Birmingham follows Joyce s Most Dangerous Book: PDF/EPUB ½ years as a young writer, his feverish work on his literary masterpiece, and his ardent love affair with Nora Barnacle, the model for Molly Bloom Joyce and Nora socialized with literary greats like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, T S Eliot and Sylvia Beach Their support helped Joyce fight an array of anti vice crusaders while his book was disguised and smuggled, pirated and burned in the United States and Britain The long struggle for publication added to the growing pressures of Joyce s deteriorating eyesight, finances and home life Salvation finally came from the partnership of Bennett Cerf, the cofounder of Random House, and Morris Ernst, a dogged civil liberties lawyer and founder of the ACLU With their stewardship, the case ultimately rested on the literary merit of Joyce s master work The sixty year old judicial practices governing obscenity in the United States were overturned because a federal judge could get inside Molly Bloom s head Birmingham s archival work brings to light new information about both Joyce and the story surrounding Ulysses Written for ardent Joyceans as well as novices who want to get to the heart of the greatest novel of the twentieth century, The Most Dangerous Book is a gripping examination of how the world came to say yes to Ulysses. Revived review to celebrateBLOOMSDAY 2020This book is my favourite book about Joyce TWO REVIEWS 1 THE SHORT VERSIONFor all Joyce fans this is a MUST READ.2 THE LONG VERSIONIn 1915 James Joyce was 33, unemployed, as poor as he d ever been, with a wife and 2 young kids, living in Trieste, a few miles from where bombs were exploding and soldiers dying in thousands His only book, Dubliners, had sold 412 copies since it was finally published in June 1914 Revived review to celebrateBLOOMSDAY 2020This book is my favourite book about Joyce TWO REVIEWS 1 THE SHORT VERSIONFor all Joyce fans this is a MUST READ.2 THE LONG VERSIONIn 1915 James Joyce was 33, unemployed, as poor as he d ever been, with a wife and 2 young kids, living in Trieste, a few miles from where bombs were exploding and soldiers dying in thousands His only book, Dubliners, had sold 412 copies since it was finally published in June 1914 It had taken 10 years to get published No one would touch his novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man with a twenty foot pole So, then, the perfect time and setting to begin Ulysses It took 8 years and became a dreadful pain in the arse for everybody Two radical literary magazines, both run by women, one in America The Little Review and one in London The Egoist decided to try to serialise it The chapters emerged and got ever weirder andobscene After receiving the Sirens episode, Harriet Weaver, editor of the Egoist, wrote to him I think I can see that your writing has been affected to some extent by your worries Ezra Pound put it another way and asked Joyce if he had got knocked on the head or bit by a wild dog and gone dotty In America the government finally prosecuted when the Nausicaa chapter was published They didn t like Gerty MacDowell s underthings, at all In the courtroom The DA launched into a red faced invective, at which point Quinn for the defense broke in and pointed to the prosecutor This is my best exhibit There is proof Ulysses does not corrupt or fill people full of lascivious thoughts Look at him Does a reading of that chapter want to send him into the arms of a whore Is he filled with sexual desire Not at all He wants to murder somebody He wants to send Joyce to jail He wants to send those two women to jail He would like to disbar me He is full of hatred, venom, anger and uncharitableness But lust There is not a drop of lust or an ounce of sex passion in his whole body He is my chief exhibit as to the effect of Ulysses Sylvia Beach, who ran Shakespeare and Co, a bookshop in Paris, it s still there I have been decided to bite the bullet and publish Ulysses in 1922 When she did, it turned out that everyone was gagging for a copy, but they all lived in Britain or America where it was banned It immediately became the supreme symbol of cultural rebellion To have a copy, or even, to know someone who had a copy O the thrill So they had to smuggle their copies from France, and the smuggling takes up a fair chunk of the tale Ulysses sold 24,000 copies in the following nine years, which was pitifully small The Great Gatsby sold the same number in its first year this was considered a major disappointment So for ten years they couldn t get Ulysses published in the USA because this vice supremo John Sumner would have vamoosed them off to Sing Sing Into the gap stepped shady guys printing up pirated copies, and obviously paying Joyce nothing just like music bootleggers later They had to be stopped and the only sure way of doing that was for Mr Quinn, the defender of Ulysses, to ask Mr Sumter to prosecute the pirates for distributing obscene books Which situation he described as somewhat ironical.The government didn t want the botheration of a full trial, so what they did was confiscate every imported copy In December 1922 they had collected nearly 500 copies at New York s General Post Office Building on 34th Street, and They wheeled them down the basement s dim corridors and unloaded them in the furnace room The men opened the round cast iron hatches and began tossing James Joyce s Ulysses into the chambers Paper burns brighter than coal For this very delicious book Kevin Birmingham got hold of a great subject, which we might have thought we already knew about but we really didn t , not to this degree of essential detail And just when the reader is thinking that this quaint old cultural war, long since won hands down, is anything now considered to be obscene is a type of comedy, he switches the focus to Joyce s own life, which was painful literally We have pages of Joyce s horrible eye ailments, the grotesque eye operations, lists of treatments, all of which failed Steam bathsMud bathsSweating powdersCold compresses and hot compressesIodine injectionsStimulation of the thyroidElectrotherapyLeeches applied to eyes many times Dionine eyedrops Salicylic acid eyedrops Boric acid eyedrops Atropine eyedrops Scopolamine eyedrops And of courseIridectomies multiple times He had decades of on off painful eruptions of his eye problems, which KB attributes to tertiary syphilis, contracted way back when Joyce was a student in Dublin However, thankfully, it wasn t all misery After Ulysses he began the inscrutable Finnegans Wake,of which Nora Barnacle saidI go to bed and then that man sits in the next room and continues laughing about his own writing She would get out of bed and pound on the door, Now Jim, stop writing or stop laughingAll Joyce s friends hated Finnegan, but he carried on with it for 17 years finished it died When the formal case against Ulysses was heard in November 1933 it was a very rum affair The prosecutor, the defender and the judge all agreed that Ulysses was a masterpiece of the highest order No witnesses were called Judge John Woolsey made the decision all on his own Time magazine, that champion of the avant garde, apostrophized thus Watchers of the US skies last week reported no comet or other celestial portent In Manhattan no showers of ticker tape blossomed from Broadway office windows, no welcoming committee packed City Hall Yet many a wide awake modern minded citizen knew he had seen literary history pass another milestone For last week a much enduring traveler, world famed but long an outcast, landed safe and sound on US shores His name was Ulysses.It fair brings a tear to the eye Except that the same journal was probably calling for Joyce s head on a plate ten years before Well, the tide had turned.Let s finish with a remarkable fact Can I believe it Well, I m going to try On p 340 KB informs us After ninety years in print, Ulysses sells roughly one hundred thousand copies a year.I raise a glass to all of you yearly 100,000 May every one of you make it through to Molly s final yes Today James Joyce s Ulysses is a modern classic, freely available in dozens of editions and languages Once upon a time, though, it was considered obscene and illegal You could be arrested for owning a copy.Harvard lecturer Kevin Birmingham s fascinating book examines the work s unusual history, from the original kernel of inspiration a man helping Joyce after a drunken fight in Dublin s St Stephen s Green to the legal decision that changed the course of literature and our ideas about free Today James Joyce s Ulysses is a modern classic, freely available in dozens of editions and languages Once upon a time, though, it was considered obscene and illegal You could be arrested for owning a copy.Harvard lecturer Kevin Birmingham s fascinating book examines the work s unusual history, from the original kernel of inspiration a man helping Joyce after a drunken fight in Dublin s St Stephen s Green to the legal decision that changed the course of literature and our ideas about freedom of artistic expression It covers Joyce s poverty, his tempestuous relationship with Nora Barnacle, his exile from Ireland, his ambivalent relationship with his father and his ongoing eye ailments One chapter about his eye problems reads like a horror story The Most Dangerous Book focuses on the enormous battle to get Ulysses published, which involved censorship by everyone from humble post office employees to printers refusing to set it in type smuggling, illegal pirated copies and finally obscenity trials on both sides of the Atlantic.The cast of characters includes famous literary types like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf, whose infamous early reaction to the book and its author has gone down in history a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples Her Bloomsbury pal T.S Eliot disagreed, however, and Woolf would later use Joycean techniques in her own fiction.Though the book was being kept from the public so as not to influence and shock women and children, some of the most important people involved in the making of the book were in fact women Sylvia Beach, whose bookstore Shakespeare And Company was Ulysses first publisher, Harriet Shaw Weaver, a political activist and magazine editor who became Joyce s generous patron, and Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of The Little Review, which published early chapters of the book.There s lots of information to impart, and a variety of settings Dublin, Trieste, Zurich, Paris, NYC, Chicago but Birmingham organizes the material beautifully and knows how to tell a good story Even the legal information is fascinating When The Little Review was charged with obscenity, the representative of the New York Society for the Suppression Of Vice didn t want to read the offensive passages because the New York Comstock Act criminalized anyone who writes, prints, publishes, or utters, or causes to be written any obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy disgusting or indecent book, picture, writing, paper In other words, offending passages from Ulysses couldn t be spoken aloud in court or typed by a stenographer Catch 22.Publishing geeks will appreciate how Ulysses changed the industry we meet a brilliant young editor named Bennett Cerf, who bought and transformed the influential Modern Library and went on to co found Random House.And the big trial proves a worthy climax, filled with humour, tension and a great character in the intelligent and open minded presiding Judge Woolsey.The ending feels a little abrupt a longer epilogue would have been nice, to fill us in on what became of all the people we met in the previous 350 pages But this is a smart, accessible work of scholarship, indispensable for fans of Joyce and the history of the modern novel Birmingham s book won me over by the end I m not fond of his writing style, his analysis of Ulysses as a work of art is fairly superficial, and there is a brevity and breeziness about the book as a whole that often left me unfulfilled, but as a historian he has his shit together, and we are not likely to get acomplete telling of the struggles, personal and institutional, that James Joyce, Harriet Shaw Weaver, Sylvia Beach et al had to endure and surmount to see Joyce s first masterpiece Birmingham s book won me over by the end I m not fond of his writing style, his analysis of Ulysses as a work of art is fairly superficial, and there is a brevity and breeziness about the book as a whole that often left me unfulfilled, but as a historian he has his shit together, and we are not likely to get acomplete telling of the struggles, personal and institutional, that James Joyce, Harriet Shaw Weaver, Sylvia Beach et al had to endure and surmount to see Joyce s first masterpiece published and exonerated Birmingham also does a fine job connecting Joyce, Ulysses, and its circle of supporters to other progressive movements emerging at the time, such as feminism by the way, did you know that Ulysses only exists at all because of the overwhelmingly dedicated, courageous efforts of, predominantly, women , socialists, anarchists, radical artists and thinkers of all ilks, and the publications that fought to give them a voice, such as The Little Review and The Egoist a fascinating period in the history of publishing all by its lonesome.Look, the twentieth century s most important, popular, widely read and commonly appreciated book, Ulysses, by all reasonable measures shouldn t have come into existence Joyce s staggeringly detrimental health, poverty, and transience, the machines of institutional censorship and an oblivious, ignorant market combined mightily against its being and survival But from our standpoint in the twenty first century, Joyce, Weaver, and Beach are the victors An artist s complete freedom of expression Let s say the game is still on, but things are looking up.So if you don t know about this period in Joyce s life and the fascinating people and circumstances that came together to give the world Ulysses, you ll want to read this book But also, please read Ellmann on Joyce, and for a thorough account of these times and affairs from a multiplicity of angles, please see Noel Riley Fitch s Sylvia Beach and The Lost Generation, which both entertains and informs Whee As a girl I was not able to understand the attraction of Joyce s Ulysses Just as Birmingham tells us, lawyers defending Joyce on charges of indecency used the defense that young girls would neither understand nor be much interested in Joyce s supposedly great work, and therefore he was not corrupting them As far as I was concerned, that was true I never got to the good bits I just didn t understand what the heck he was talking about He was crude, he was blunt, and he was clear enough for As a girl I was not able to understand the attraction of Joyce s Ulysses Just as Birmingham tells us, lawyers defending Joyce on charges of indecency used the defense that young girls would neither understand nor be much interested in Joyce s supposedly great work, and therefore he was not corrupting them As far as I was concerned, that was true I never got to the good bits I just didn t understand what the heck he was talking about He was crude, he was blunt, and he was clear enough for me to know that if I wanted to hear jokes about farts I could listen to the adolescents on my block Now, however, with this enormously detailed and beautifully read book on the genesis and development of the works of Joyce, I finally have a better idea why he was considered such an important author In the process of explicating Joyce s work, Birmingham also touches on the life and works of Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Beach, Bennett Cerf and any number of important writers and publishers of the time in Europe and America during the 1910s through the 1930s Joyce suffered from a malady of the eye, iritis, which he first experienced while he was in his twenties It continued his entire life, with surgeries and administered drugs unable to cure it Joyce died in 1941 Illness played a huge part in his life, according to Birmingham, though Joyce s Wikipedia entry does not mention it He was in the process of going blind most of his adult life, which must be one reason why in photographs Joyce s eyes look so unfocused view spoiler Sadly, the underlying cause of the iritis may have been syphilis, which was rampant in Dublin when Joyce lived there Joyce also called Europe a syphilisation and the disease accounted for the continent s manias hide spoiler This is a big book about one book, really, so if you find yourself short on time, pull up a chair and read Chapter 26 It not only tells one the outlines of what Joyce was doing in Ulysses, but what he meant by the very style of his writing and why Ulysses was considered so groundbreaking Chapter 26 is the one in which a 10 year legal battle was resolved in the United States concerning the greatness of the work as opposed to the filth of the work The judge hearing the case was particularly interesting in the text of his opinion Judge Woolsey had read the entire work, not just the bits conservatives were hoping would condemn the book, and concluded that the dirty words used by the author were not used merely to shock or corrupt but because lower middle class Irish folk actually talked and thought like that Whether or not that is true is kind of beside the point Enough people thought like that and acted like that to show the judge that obscenity can t be something we feel and do but hide it has to be something completely outside the normal experience of human endeavor.But Woolsey understoodof Joyce than the dirty bits and he helped me to get a grip on what was going on Joyce has attempted it seems to me, with astonishing success to show how the screen of consciousness with its ever shifting kaleidoscopic impressions carries, as it were on a plastic palimpsest, not only what is in the focus of each man s observation of the actual things about him, but also in a penumbral zone residua of past impressions, some recent and some drawn up by association from the domain of the subconscious John Keating narrates Penguin Random House Audio production of this book and his accents, pauses, and breaks allow us to hear the greatness of the language Ulysses charts the course of man across centuries, collapses it into a single day, tying together the past and the present and the future Joyce takes the heart of human life sex and shows us its relish and life giving qualities He does not allude to sex He talks about how it is conducted frankly, openly, with exuberance and appeal Ulysses is both funny and real, and like Birmingham and Judge Woolsey point out, in the end, it is several characters and their layers of consciousness all giving voice at one time That may be why it makes such great theatre.This book started out with Joyce as a young man meeting Nora Barnacle, the woman who would become his wife, confidant, and the one who, through letters and otherwise, expressed many of the exquisite sexual pleasures explored in Ulysses Judge Woolsey also mentioned that it is the voice of the woman, Molly Bloom, who remained in his mind after the book was closed, not those of the other main characters Stephen Dedalus, Buck Mulligan, or Leopold Bloom I highly recommend the audio edition of this book, though the Random House print copy has some great photographs and is beautifully printed If at first you wonder at Birmingham s lavish praise of Joyce you will be won over by the end And just for fun, there was an article in The Atlantic about translating Joyce s masterpiece into Chinese Don t miss it I hope that Kevin Birmingham plans to enter the Pu this year in Nonfiction for The Most Dangerous Book because it certainly is worthy of it The narrative shows depth of scholarship and an accessible literary style, which reads like creative nonfiction It s a miracle that Ulysses ever came to see the light of day The depth of the poverty and physical suffering of Joyce, who essentially lived to embody Polyphemus, the Cyclops, of Homer s Odyssey, assembled Ulysses piecemeal despite ever I hope that Kevin Birmingham plans to enter the Pu this year in Nonfiction for The Most Dangerous Book because it certainly is worthy of it The narrative shows depth of scholarship and an accessible literary style, which reads like creative nonfiction It s a miracle that Ulysses ever came to see the light of day The depth of the poverty and physical suffering of Joyce, who essentially lived to embody Polyphemus, the Cyclops, of Homer s Odyssey, assembled Ulysses piecemeal despite every painful physical obstacle and published it to overcome powerful social and political forces deeming it obscene Visionary heroes emerged as advocates for Joyce like Sylvia Beach, Harriet Weaver, Ernest Hemingway, Judge John Woolsey, Ezra Pound, Morris Ernst upon each of whom both the legal and illegal publication of Ulysses depended For all practical purposes the multiple eye surgeries of Joyce for iritis left him virtually as blind as Homer and may have served to drive the interior monologues into double streams of conscious depicting human beings as they really exist in everyday life In so doing Joyce produces the highest form of verisimilitude in a breakthrough narrative style which proved germinal for great novelists who followed him including Faulkner and Virginia Woolf, the latter of whom initially just didn t understand what Joyce was doing in his narrative innovation I was amused by the perspective of Nora Barnacle cited generously throughout the book, especially after drinking bouts in Paris after one of which Hemingway carried Joyce home Well, here comes James Joyce, the writer, drunk, again, with Ernest Hemingway The literary ties binding back both to Ulysses and Homer s Odyssey read well in linking the two epic masterpieces Given the genius of Odyssey only a like minded visionary would take upon himself the fearless re casting of Homer s epic in one day in Dublin with such an unlikely Odysseus as ad man and cuckold, Leopold Bloom, and the tipsy Telemachus, Stephen Dedalus as the Joyce the elder and the younger, respectively Joyce boldly launched the Modernist Literary Movement and the clever positioning by Morris Ernst as a modern classic helped pave the way for the legal publication of Ulysses in the USA and UK Those who stood by Joyce under the most adverse conditions and worst of times must have seen the promise and humanity and stylistic innovation of Ulysses to such an extent that they made incredible personal sacrifices to enable its author to achieve his literary immortality through their collective intercession on his behalf I cannot recommend this bookhighly to avid readers who value all of the writing of James Joyce As Van Gogh once said, Fear nothing Just paint Kevin Birmingham s vivid, scholarly and accessible book brings to life not only the complex genius of James Joyce but also his uncommon courage and those of his enlightened champions who clearly understood before anyone else how much of a contribution he made in Ulysses to literature and in our timeless understanding of the human condition The Most Dangerous Book attempts something big, and to a large extent pulls it off To tell not only the story of how James Joyce came to write Ulysses, his struggle to get it published in the face of critical and legal adversitities, and through that lens the story of how Victorian moralities and censorship laws were forced to make way for the modern ist world, never to be heard of again uh, maybe Joyce s novel represented not a finished monument of high culture but an ongoing fight for fr The Most Dangerous Book attempts something big, and to a large extent pulls it off To tell not only the story of how James Joyce came to write Ulysses, his struggle to get it published in the face of critical and legal adversitities, and through that lens the story of how Victorian moralities and censorship laws were forced to make way for the modern ist world, never to be heard of again uh, maybe Joyce s novel represented not a finished monument of high culture but an ongoing fight for freedom.And as a pure biography of Ulysses and the soil it sprang from Joyce s youth, the early modernist writers and the surrounding world of new political and literary ideas that weren t always always all that pleasant or peaceful, Joyce s love for Nora Barnacle, and the various unlikely characters who midwifed the novel strikingly many of them women it s both well researched and well written at times thrilling, funny, heartbreaking There are certainlyin depth works on Ulysses as a work of literature, but that s not what Birmingham is going for here What s uncanny about censorship in a liberal society is that sooner or later the government s goal is not just to ban objectionable books It is to act as if they don t exist The bans themselves should, whenever possible, remain secret.Because then you get to the big issue here the one that gave the book its title The actual question of just what feathers Ulysses ruffled, and how it could takethan 10 years for it to be legally published in most English speaking countries Birmingham being American, the world is pretty much limited to the US, the UK, and Paris And I m not saying these parts of the book aren t just as good between the historical background on censorship laws and the ideas and methods that went into them back when postal workers were essentially Big Brother, the various attempts to get att what the hell obscene even means, and the minutiae of everything surrounding the troubled road to legality It makes for a hell of a literary thriller, coupled with what is obviously a love for Ulysses itself, and I can t wait to re read the damn tome again The legalization of Ulysses announced the transformation of a culture A book that the American and British governments had burned en masse a few years earlier was now a modern classic, part of the heritage of Western civilization Official approval of Ulysses, in prominent federal decisions and behind closed doors, indicated that the culture of the 1910s and 1920s a culture of experimentation and radicalism, Dada and warfare, little magazines and birth control was not an aberration It had taken root Or,accurately, it indicated that rootedness itself was a fiction By sanctioning Ulysses, British and American authorities had, to some small but important degree, become philosophical anarchists There was no absolute authority, no singular vision for our society, no monolithic ideas towering over us.Obviously the book could have donesaidabout modernism as a whole, continued to draw parallels to political developments past the publication of Ulysses, etc, but that s not the focus here, so that s fine The main thing that irks me somewhat is that I feel like Birmingham tends to treat the central concept here, that of freedom of speech well, print just a tiny little bit too simplified as if it was something you either have or don t have, and that it was entirely the work of Joyce and his cheerleaders that shepherded the world from one side to the other Almost as if Freedom was a simple commodity, a word that means something in itself.But eh, you can t have everything Except of course by reading Ulysses and the word that shakes it all down is YES. I ve been raving to anyone who will listen about this wonderful new book from Kevin Birmingham about James Joyce s Ulysses Inevitably someone says that he she couldn t read Ulysses, so why read a critical book about an unreadable book Of course, I found the novel difficult also I understood and embraced some chapters and despaired over others But even in its difficulty, most people internalize some of its images, its magisterial sweep, its originality The idea is simple a single day in the I ve been raving to anyone who will listen about this wonderful new book from Kevin Birmingham about James Joyce s Ulysses Inevitably someone says that he she couldn t read Ulysses, so why read a critical book about an unreadable book Of course, I found the novel difficult also I understood and embraced some chapters and despaired over others But even in its difficulty, most people internalize some of its images, its magisterial sweep, its originality The idea is simple a single day in the life of Dubliner Leopold Bloom is a kind of odyssey, detailed and wandering, with parallels to the Greek epic Birmingham s carefully researched Most Dangerous Book leads the reader through the turmoil of the writing of Ulysses, its publication and censorship battles It s a great narrative No, you don t need to have read the novel but it will lend depth to the reading of The Most Dangerous Book if you have had your own wrestling match with the great sprawl which is Ulysses.It required the efforts of many people to bring Ulysses to a reading public lawyers, anarchists, smugglers, and, to my personal delight, fierce and unlikely women ready to give all in the service of James Joyce s book Modernists eager to embrace a new way of literature found their greatest cause in Joyce some of them never met him Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, who edited a tiny money losing publication called The Little Review, printed the early chapters in successive magazine issues Anderson had said to Heap, This is the most beautiful thing we ll ever have We ll print it if it s the last effort of our lives Harassed by censors, they ended up in court and lost.Sylvia Beach, protector of the Lost Generation in Paris, published the first edition of the novel in 1922 and finagled to smuggle the books into the United States She allowed Joyce to make costly revisions at the last minute, when the book was already typeset, so fully did she trust the instincts of Joyce s brilliant mind.A fourth unlikely woman was Harriet Weaver, an Englishwoman of means who delivered copies of Ulysses to book shops in London under the watchful eye of the police Harriet Weaver did something else important she kept sending Joyce money to give his family a roof and daily sustenance.Then there were the great boosters among other writers, especially Ezra Pound, but also T.S Eliot and Ernest Hemingway Lawyers John Quinn and Morris Ernst fought the court battles, and Bennett Cerf defended its literary value Essentially no one received money although Cerf, a true businessman, reaped his harvest in years to come.So many far sighted people recognized the worth of the book but there was the matter of the filth Joyce wanted to make his book encyclopedic, to include every single act and thought that invaded Leopold Bloom s day I was always told this was stream of consciousness, but Birmingham understands that Joyce s novel was a new rendering of the way people think, a leaping among thoughts, observations, actions Including sex, and defecation, and masturbation There had never been anything like it.In the landmark obscenity trial of 1933, the presiding judge, John Woolsey, came to court having read the novel This exchange between him and attorney Morris Ernst is my favorite moment in the book Ernst Your honor, while arguing to win this case I thought I was intent only on this book, but frankly, while pleading before you, I ve also been thinking about the ring around your tie, how your gown does not fit too well on your shoulders and the picture of John Marshall behind your bench The judge seemed to grasp his point I have listened as intently as I know how, Woolsey replied, but I must confess that while listening to you I ve been thinking about the Hepplewhite chair behind you That, Judge, said the lawyer, is the essence of Ulysses Woolsey agreed, and concluded that Ulysses was not obscene.Birmingham is an historian with a storytelling gift The first third of the 20th century is right here women s rights, World War I, obscenity laws, syphilis, the Lost Generation Amidst it all is the love story of James Joyce and Nora Barnacle that became a great novel I would give this book ten stars if possible Not only is this book interesting and engaging, but it falls under the category of important books to read Not only does it follow James Joyce as he writes ULYSSES and the difficulties that follow with the publication process due to it being deemed obscene, but this book gives a lot of information about the history of the suppression of published material in the U.S., England, and France in the early 1900s By reading about book burnings By rea I would give this book ten stars if possible Not only is this book interesting and engaging, but it falls under the category of important books to read Not only does it follow James Joyce as he writes ULYSSES and the difficulties that follow with the publication process due to it being deemed obscene, but this book gives a lot of information about the history of the suppression of published material in the U.S., England, and France in the early 1900s By reading about book burnings By reading about the suppression of not only ULYSSES, but other books and magazines as well, we can truly be grateful for what we have today We can also be empowered to make sure that further book banning is stopped and that the Press is free and open These days, Ulysses may seemeccentric than epoch changing, and it can be difficult to see how Joyce s novel how any novel, perhaps could have been revolutionary This is because all revolutions look tame from the other side This quotation comes near the end in The Most Dangerous Book, but sums up what you will find inside It isn t just the story of how Ulysses was banned and censored for obscenity and changed how literature is evaluated for these things, although that story in itself These days, Ulysses may seemeccentric than epoch changing, and it can be difficult to see how Joyce s novel how any novel, perhaps could have been revolutionary This is because all revolutions look tame from the other side This quotation comes near the end in The Most Dangerous Book, but sums up what you will find inside It isn t just the story of how Ulysses was banned and censored for obscenity and changed how literature is evaluated for these things, although that story in itself is fascinating the magazines run by Anarchists and their involvement, the efforts European countries and the United States were making to remove dangerous, dissenting voices from their populations, the role of the post office in the USA and the rising power of the police in the UK in addressing vice, obscenity, and women who might gasp become unwed mothers if exposed to such improper things apparently even then, that was the worst fear.It is also the story of Joyce himself When I read Ulysses, I read it alongside several companion books, but those only focused on the contents and their connections to the Odyssey, etc I never really knew where Joyce came from, anything about Nora, or his considerable poverty and health challenges.Nora, the great love of his wife, is an important force in his life and in his writing The author includes some of the letters they wrote back and forth to each other, and let s just say that Ulysses is quite mild in comparison I didn t know of Joyce s connections to key figures, for instance Ezra Pound, Emma Goldman, T.S Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Sigmund Freud, and Mark Twain The era, the locations, the politics, the wars all of these events created the unique situation for this great work to emerge I want to re read Ulysses now, with all this context in mind And now the bits I marked and can t bear to exclude, behind a cut potentially different in final version of book as I had an ARC view spoiler It made sense, in the heady years before World War I, to wage war through art To the radicals, high art was largely a political invention, a propaganda tool justifying empire, so to attack museum culture was to attack imperial power To artists like Joyce, who considered free expression sacrosanct, censorship epitomized the tyranny of state power, for the state not only banned obscenity, it decided what obscenity was One of the paradoxes of the war was that while Londoners bravely faced the possibility of being burned alive by thermite every time they went to the pub, they were less willing than ever to risk moral offense Egoism appealed to modernists who found politics hopeless In what seemed to be a permanent era of corporations and jostling empires, egoism provided anarchism with a way to retreat into culture while making that retreat seemlik a principled defiance The individual would defeat collectivism not through protests and dynamite but through philosophy, art, and literature Turn of the century individualist anarchists rejected political violence, deemphasized communal associations and celebrated a tradition of anarchist ideas already in circulation, from Wordsworth, Whitman and Zola to Thomas Paine, Rousseau, Nietzsche and Ibsen It suited Joyce perfectly An intellectual gulf separated the Galway girl from the artist, and yet in some ways she became a model for every reader he ever wanted The ideal reader, Joyce would write years later, suffers from an ideal insomnia He wanted people to read novels as carefully, as ardently and as sleeplessly as they would read dirty letters sent from abroad It was one of modernism s great insights James Joyce treated readers as if they were lovers More things to read The New AgeThe FreewomanThe New FreewomanThe EgoistThe Ego and His OwnThe Little ReviewMore people to read read about Katherine MansfieldDora Marsden hide spoiler Birmingham does an excellent job of portraying of the unsettled social and political environment that existed when Joyce began his work, and the array of personalities who worked for and against publication The scenes of American and British public battlegrounds alternate with descriptions of Joyce s personal battlegrounds of poverty, ill health and emotional outbursts Birmingham s pages regarding the trials, with their legal issues and arguments, are clear, even though I suspect they were sig Birmingham does an excellent job of portraying of the unsettled social and political environment that existed when Joyce began his work, and the array of personalities who worked for and against publication The scenes of American and British public battlegrounds alternate with descriptions of Joyce s personal battlegrounds of poverty, ill health and emotional outbursts Birmingham s pages regarding the trials, with their legal issues and arguments, are clear, even though I suspect they were significantlycomplex than he attempts to describe in this book.I enjoyed the early sections the most, for two reason First, because I had forgotten about the radical political elements of the pre WWI period that fostered fear and a conservative approach to any challenge to the status quo The anarchist bombings, in particular, unsettled law enforcement, and the fear bled over into, and strengthened, other conservative movements and the fanatics whose identity and power were wrapped up in them There are extensive background discussions of the anti obscenity organizations and campaigns in the United States, along with profiles of leaders Comstock and Sumner.Second, the early chapters highlight the radical women who championed modernist literature, the suffrage movement, and a broader feminst agenda They endured just as much poverty in some cases, and always considerablyrisk of imprisonment, than Joyce did The author notes the irony that so many legal impediments were erected to protect women from the smut of Ulysses, when women were responsible for inspiring it, serializing it, financing its author for years, and publishing the first edition Birmingham also enjoys the running tension between the wealthy but personally a bit uptight attorney John Quinn who was the early defender of publication rights in the US, and the women partners who ran the Little Review and actually serialized the first chapters of Ulysses He referred to them a those Washington Square women read, lesbians and supported their efforts on grudging principle.The other remarkable women are Miss Weaver in London and of course Sylvia Beach, in Paris But most of course, Nora The second half of the book focuses on the men who came to the fore as attitudes changed and critical opinion coalesced in Joyce s corner There is a poignant portrait of the man who published bootleg, corrupt copies of Ulysses in the US, and an admiring portrait of Judge Woolsey, who first allowed publication and indeed included a glowing review in his opinion.In fact, Random House printed Woolsey s opinion for many years in their editions of the book Birmingham includes an arm s length depiction of Bennett Cerf s creation of his company, and his pursuit of rights and the right to publish Ulyssess Perhaps ironically for someone who celebrates Molly s soliloquy, he is offended by Cerf s philandering, so the credit is grudging I picked up a used copy of Cerf s autobiography at a library book sale last week and plan to look up his version of the story.There are extensive quotes from the passages that were cited in court cases as obscene The pages I found the most emotional to read, however, were those with extensive graphic descriptions of Joyce s eye problems and surgeries Not for the faint of stomach Mine turned Thank goodness for penicillin.I note that other reviewers rate Birmingham as a bit light on literary analysis I have read Ulysses but no criticism, so I am probably pretty close to the audience that the author has in mind I can see the reviewers point, but the extent of literary criticism here suffices for Birmingham s purpose and encourages me to look up other exegeses You can t do everything in one book

The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's
    EPUB is an ebook file format that uses the epub most important publishers and writers of his era, had to fight for years to win the freedom to publish it The Most Dangerous Book tells the remarkable story surrounding Ulysses, from the first stirrings of Joyce s inspiration into its landmark federal obscenity trial inLiterary historian Kevin Birmingham follows Joyce s Most Dangerous Book: PDF/EPUB ½ years as a young writer, his feverish work on his literary masterpiece, and his ardent love affair with Nora Barnacle, the model for Molly Bloom Joyce and Nora socialized with literary greats like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, T S Eliot and Sylvia Beach Their support helped Joyce fight an array of anti vice crusaders while his book was disguised and smuggled, pirated and burned in the United States and Britain The long struggle for publication added to the growing pressures of Joyce s deteriorating eyesight, finances and home life Salvation finally came from the partnership of Bennett Cerf, the cofounder of Random House, and Morris Ernst, a dogged civil liberties lawyer and founder of the ACLU With their stewardship, the case ultimately rested on the literary merit of Joyce s master work The sixty year old judicial practices governing obscenity in the United States were overturned because a federal judge could get inside Molly Bloom s head Birmingham s archival work brings to light new information about both Joyce and the story surrounding Ulysses Written for ardent Joyceans as well as novices who want to get to the heart of the greatest novel of the twentieth century, The Most Dangerous Book is a gripping examination of how the world came to say yes to Ulysses. Revived review to celebrateBLOOMSDAY 2020This book is my favourite book about Joyce TWO REVIEWS 1 THE SHORT VERSIONFor all Joyce fans this is a MUST READ.2 THE LONG VERSIONIn 1915 James Joyce was 33, unemployed, as poor as he d ever been, with a wife and 2 young kids, living in Trieste, a few miles from where bombs were exploding and soldiers dying in thousands His only book, Dubliners, had sold 412 copies since it was finally published in June 1914 Revived review to celebrateBLOOMSDAY 2020This book is my favourite book about Joyce TWO REVIEWS 1 THE SHORT VERSIONFor all Joyce fans this is a MUST READ.2 THE LONG VERSIONIn 1915 James Joyce was 33, unemployed, as poor as he d ever been, with a wife and 2 young kids, living in Trieste, a few miles from where bombs were exploding and soldiers dying in thousands His only book, Dubliners, had sold 412 copies since it was finally published in June 1914 It had taken 10 years to get published No one would touch his novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man with a twenty foot pole So, then, the perfect time and setting to begin Ulysses It took 8 years and became a dreadful pain in the arse for everybody Two radical literary magazines, both run by women, one in America The Little Review and one in London The Egoist decided to try to serialise it The chapters emerged and got ever weirder andobscene After receiving the Sirens episode, Harriet Weaver, editor of the Egoist, wrote to him I think I can see that your writing has been affected to some extent by your worries Ezra Pound put it another way and asked Joyce if he had got knocked on the head or bit by a wild dog and gone dotty In America the government finally prosecuted when the Nausicaa chapter was published They didn t like Gerty MacDowell s underthings, at all In the courtroom The DA launched into a red faced invective, at which point Quinn for the defense broke in and pointed to the prosecutor This is my best exhibit There is proof Ulysses does not corrupt or fill people full of lascivious thoughts Look at him Does a reading of that chapter want to send him into the arms of a whore Is he filled with sexual desire Not at all He wants to murder somebody He wants to send Joyce to jail He wants to send those two women to jail He would like to disbar me He is full of hatred, venom, anger and uncharitableness But lust There is not a drop of lust or an ounce of sex passion in his whole body He is my chief exhibit as to the effect of Ulysses Sylvia Beach, who ran Shakespeare and Co, a bookshop in Paris, it s still there I have been decided to bite the bullet and publish Ulysses in 1922 When she did, it turned out that everyone was gagging for a copy, but they all lived in Britain or America where it was banned It immediately became the supreme symbol of cultural rebellion To have a copy, or even, to know someone who had a copy O the thrill So they had to smuggle their copies from France, and the smuggling takes up a fair chunk of the tale Ulysses sold 24,000 copies in the following nine years, which was pitifully small The Great Gatsby sold the same number in its first year this was considered a major disappointment So for ten years they couldn t get Ulysses published in the USA because this vice supremo John Sumner would have vamoosed them off to Sing Sing Into the gap stepped shady guys printing up pirated copies, and obviously paying Joyce nothing just like music bootleggers later They had to be stopped and the only sure way of doing that was for Mr Quinn, the defender of Ulysses, to ask Mr Sumter to prosecute the pirates for distributing obscene books Which situation he described as somewhat ironical.The government didn t want the botheration of a full trial, so what they did was confiscate every imported copy In December 1922 they had collected nearly 500 copies at New York s General Post Office Building on 34th Street, and They wheeled them down the basement s dim corridors and unloaded them in the furnace room The men opened the round cast iron hatches and began tossing James Joyce s Ulysses into the chambers Paper burns brighter than coal For this very delicious book Kevin Birmingham got hold of a great subject, which we might have thought we already knew about but we really didn t , not to this degree of essential detail And just when the reader is thinking that this quaint old cultural war, long since won hands down, is anything now considered to be obscene is a type of comedy, he switches the focus to Joyce s own life, which was painful literally We have pages of Joyce s horrible eye ailments, the grotesque eye operations, lists of treatments, all of which failed Steam bathsMud bathsSweating powdersCold compresses and hot compressesIodine injectionsStimulation of the thyroidElectrotherapyLeeches applied to eyes many times Dionine eyedrops Salicylic acid eyedrops Boric acid eyedrops Atropine eyedrops Scopolamine eyedrops And of courseIridectomies multiple times He had decades of on off painful eruptions of his eye problems, which KB attributes to tertiary syphilis, contracted way back when Joyce was a student in Dublin However, thankfully, it wasn t all misery After Ulysses he began the inscrutable Finnegans Wake,of which Nora Barnacle saidI go to bed and then that man sits in the next room and continues laughing about his own writing She would get out of bed and pound on the door, Now Jim, stop writing or stop laughingAll Joyce s friends hated Finnegan, but he carried on with it for 17 years finished it died When the formal case against Ulysses was heard in November 1933 it was a very rum affair The prosecutor, the defender and the judge all agreed that Ulysses was a masterpiece of the highest order No witnesses were called Judge John Woolsey made the decision all on his own Time magazine, that champion of the avant garde, apostrophized thus Watchers of the US skies last week reported no comet or other celestial portent In Manhattan no showers of ticker tape blossomed from Broadway office windows, no welcoming committee packed City Hall Yet many a wide awake modern minded citizen knew he had seen literary history pass another milestone For last week a much enduring traveler, world famed but long an outcast, landed safe and sound on US shores His name was Ulysses.It fair brings a tear to the eye Except that the same journal was probably calling for Joyce s head on a plate ten years before Well, the tide had turned.Let s finish with a remarkable fact Can I believe it Well, I m going to try On p 340 KB informs us After ninety years in print, Ulysses sells roughly one hundred thousand copies a year.I raise a glass to all of you yearly 100,000 May every one of you make it through to Molly s final yes Today James Joyce s Ulysses is a modern classic, freely available in dozens of editions and languages Once upon a time, though, it was considered obscene and illegal You could be arrested for owning a copy.Harvard lecturer Kevin Birmingham s fascinating book examines the work s unusual history, from the original kernel of inspiration a man helping Joyce after a drunken fight in Dublin s St Stephen s Green to the legal decision that changed the course of literature and our ideas about free Today James Joyce s Ulysses is a modern classic, freely available in dozens of editions and languages Once upon a time, though, it was considered obscene and illegal You could be arrested for owning a copy.Harvard lecturer Kevin Birmingham s fascinating book examines the work s unusual history, from the original kernel of inspiration a man helping Joyce after a drunken fight in Dublin s St Stephen s Green to the legal decision that changed the course of literature and our ideas about freedom of artistic expression It covers Joyce s poverty, his tempestuous relationship with Nora Barnacle, his exile from Ireland, his ambivalent relationship with his father and his ongoing eye ailments One chapter about his eye problems reads like a horror story The Most Dangerous Book focuses on the enormous battle to get Ulysses published, which involved censorship by everyone from humble post office employees to printers refusing to set it in type smuggling, illegal pirated copies and finally obscenity trials on both sides of the Atlantic.The cast of characters includes famous literary types like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf, whose infamous early reaction to the book and its author has gone down in history a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples Her Bloomsbury pal T.S Eliot disagreed, however, and Woolf would later use Joycean techniques in her own fiction.Though the book was being kept from the public so as not to influence and shock women and children, some of the most important people involved in the making of the book were in fact women Sylvia Beach, whose bookstore Shakespeare And Company was Ulysses first publisher, Harriet Shaw Weaver, a political activist and magazine editor who became Joyce s generous patron, and Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of The Little Review, which published early chapters of the book.There s lots of information to impart, and a variety of settings Dublin, Trieste, Zurich, Paris, NYC, Chicago but Birmingham organizes the material beautifully and knows how to tell a good story Even the legal information is fascinating When The Little Review was charged with obscenity, the representative of the New York Society for the Suppression Of Vice didn t want to read the offensive passages because the New York Comstock Act criminalized anyone who writes, prints, publishes, or utters, or causes to be written any obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy disgusting or indecent book, picture, writing, paper In other words, offending passages from Ulysses couldn t be spoken aloud in court or typed by a stenographer Catch 22.Publishing geeks will appreciate how Ulysses changed the industry we meet a brilliant young editor named Bennett Cerf, who bought and transformed the influential Modern Library and went on to co found Random House.And the big trial proves a worthy climax, filled with humour, tension and a great character in the intelligent and open minded presiding Judge Woolsey.The ending feels a little abrupt a longer epilogue would have been nice, to fill us in on what became of all the people we met in the previous 350 pages But this is a smart, accessible work of scholarship, indispensable for fans of Joyce and the history of the modern novel Birmingham s book won me over by the end I m not fond of his writing style, his analysis of Ulysses as a work of art is fairly superficial, and there is a brevity and breeziness about the book as a whole that often left me unfulfilled, but as a historian he has his shit together, and we are not likely to get acomplete telling of the struggles, personal and institutional, that James Joyce, Harriet Shaw Weaver, Sylvia Beach et al had to endure and surmount to see Joyce s first masterpiece Birmingham s book won me over by the end I m not fond of his writing style, his analysis of Ulysses as a work of art is fairly superficial, and there is a brevity and breeziness about the book as a whole that often left me unfulfilled, but as a historian he has his shit together, and we are not likely to get acomplete telling of the struggles, personal and institutional, that James Joyce, Harriet Shaw Weaver, Sylvia Beach et al had to endure and surmount to see Joyce s first masterpiece published and exonerated Birmingham also does a fine job connecting Joyce, Ulysses, and its circle of supporters to other progressive movements emerging at the time, such as feminism by the way, did you know that Ulysses only exists at all because of the overwhelmingly dedicated, courageous efforts of, predominantly, women , socialists, anarchists, radical artists and thinkers of all ilks, and the publications that fought to give them a voice, such as The Little Review and The Egoist a fascinating period in the history of publishing all by its lonesome.Look, the twentieth century s most important, popular, widely read and commonly appreciated book, Ulysses, by all reasonable measures shouldn t have come into existence Joyce s staggeringly detrimental health, poverty, and transience, the machines of institutional censorship and an oblivious, ignorant market combined mightily against its being and survival But from our standpoint in the twenty first century, Joyce, Weaver, and Beach are the victors An artist s complete freedom of expression Let s say the game is still on, but things are looking up.So if you don t know about this period in Joyce s life and the fascinating people and circumstances that came together to give the world Ulysses, you ll want to read this book But also, please read Ellmann on Joyce, and for a thorough account of these times and affairs from a multiplicity of angles, please see Noel Riley Fitch s Sylvia Beach and The Lost Generation, which both entertains and informs Whee As a girl I was not able to understand the attraction of Joyce s Ulysses Just as Birmingham tells us, lawyers defending Joyce on charges of indecency used the defense that young girls would neither understand nor be much interested in Joyce s supposedly great work, and therefore he was not corrupting them As far as I was concerned, that was true I never got to the good bits I just didn t understand what the heck he was talking about He was crude, he was blunt, and he was clear enough for As a girl I was not able to understand the attraction of Joyce s Ulysses Just as Birmingham tells us, lawyers defending Joyce on charges of indecency used the defense that young girls would neither understand nor be much interested in Joyce s supposedly great work, and therefore he was not corrupting them As far as I was concerned, that was true I never got to the good bits I just didn t understand what the heck he was talking about He was crude, he was blunt, and he was clear enough for me to know that if I wanted to hear jokes about farts I could listen to the adolescents on my block Now, however, with this enormously detailed and beautifully read book on the genesis and development of the works of Joyce, I finally have a better idea why he was considered such an important author In the process of explicating Joyce s work, Birmingham also touches on the life and works of Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Beach, Bennett Cerf and any number of important writers and publishers of the time in Europe and America during the 1910s through the 1930s Joyce suffered from a malady of the eye, iritis, which he first experienced while he was in his twenties It continued his entire life, with surgeries and administered drugs unable to cure it Joyce died in 1941 Illness played a huge part in his life, according to Birmingham, though Joyce s Wikipedia entry does not mention it He was in the process of going blind most of his adult life, which must be one reason why in photographs Joyce s eyes look so unfocused view spoiler Sadly, the underlying cause of the iritis may have been syphilis, which was rampant in Dublin when Joyce lived there Joyce also called Europe a syphilisation and the disease accounted for the continent s manias hide spoiler This is a big book about one book, really, so if you find yourself short on time, pull up a chair and read Chapter 26 It not only tells one the outlines of what Joyce was doing in Ulysses, but what he meant by the very style of his writing and why Ulysses was considered so groundbreaking Chapter 26 is the one in which a 10 year legal battle was resolved in the United States concerning the greatness of the work as opposed to the filth of the work The judge hearing the case was particularly interesting in the text of his opinion Judge Woolsey had read the entire work, not just the bits conservatives were hoping would condemn the book, and concluded that the dirty words used by the author were not used merely to shock or corrupt but because lower middle class Irish folk actually talked and thought like that Whether or not that is true is kind of beside the point Enough people thought like that and acted like that to show the judge that obscenity can t be something we feel and do but hide it has to be something completely outside the normal experience of human endeavor.But Woolsey understoodof Joyce than the dirty bits and he helped me to get a grip on what was going on Joyce has attempted it seems to me, with astonishing success to show how the screen of consciousness with its ever shifting kaleidoscopic impressions carries, as it were on a plastic palimpsest, not only what is in the focus of each man s observation of the actual things about him, but also in a penumbral zone residua of past impressions, some recent and some drawn up by association from the domain of the subconscious John Keating narrates Penguin Random House Audio production of this book and his accents, pauses, and breaks allow us to hear the greatness of the language Ulysses charts the course of man across centuries, collapses it into a single day, tying together the past and the present and the future Joyce takes the heart of human life sex and shows us its relish and life giving qualities He does not allude to sex He talks about how it is conducted frankly, openly, with exuberance and appeal Ulysses is both funny and real, and like Birmingham and Judge Woolsey point out, in the end, it is several characters and their layers of consciousness all giving voice at one time That may be why it makes such great theatre.This book started out with Joyce as a young man meeting Nora Barnacle, the woman who would become his wife, confidant, and the one who, through letters and otherwise, expressed many of the exquisite sexual pleasures explored in Ulysses Judge Woolsey also mentioned that it is the voice of the woman, Molly Bloom, who remained in his mind after the book was closed, not those of the other main characters Stephen Dedalus, Buck Mulligan, or Leopold Bloom I highly recommend the audio edition of this book, though the Random House print copy has some great photographs and is beautifully printed If at first you wonder at Birmingham s lavish praise of Joyce you will be won over by the end And just for fun, there was an article in The Atlantic about translating Joyce s masterpiece into Chinese Don t miss it I hope that Kevin Birmingham plans to enter the Pu this year in Nonfiction for The Most Dangerous Book because it certainly is worthy of it The narrative shows depth of scholarship and an accessible literary style, which reads like creative nonfiction It s a miracle that Ulysses ever came to see the light of day The depth of the poverty and physical suffering of Joyce, who essentially lived to embody Polyphemus, the Cyclops, of Homer s Odyssey, assembled Ulysses piecemeal despite ever I hope that Kevin Birmingham plans to enter the Pu this year in Nonfiction for The Most Dangerous Book because it certainly is worthy of it The narrative shows depth of scholarship and an accessible literary style, which reads like creative nonfiction It s a miracle that Ulysses ever came to see the light of day The depth of the poverty and physical suffering of Joyce, who essentially lived to embody Polyphemus, the Cyclops, of Homer s Odyssey, assembled Ulysses piecemeal despite every painful physical obstacle and published it to overcome powerful social and political forces deeming it obscene Visionary heroes emerged as advocates for Joyce like Sylvia Beach, Harriet Weaver, Ernest Hemingway, Judge John Woolsey, Ezra Pound, Morris Ernst upon each of whom both the legal and illegal publication of Ulysses depended For all practical purposes the multiple eye surgeries of Joyce for iritis left him virtually as blind as Homer and may have served to drive the interior monologues into double streams of conscious depicting human beings as they really exist in everyday life In so doing Joyce produces the highest form of verisimilitude in a breakthrough narrative style which proved germinal for great novelists who followed him including Faulkner and Virginia Woolf, the latter of whom initially just didn t understand what Joyce was doing in his narrative innovation I was amused by the perspective of Nora Barnacle cited generously throughout the book, especially after drinking bouts in Paris after one of which Hemingway carried Joyce home Well, here comes James Joyce, the writer, drunk, again, with Ernest Hemingway The literary ties binding back both to Ulysses and Homer s Odyssey read well in linking the two epic masterpieces Given the genius of Odyssey only a like minded visionary would take upon himself the fearless re casting of Homer s epic in one day in Dublin with such an unlikely Odysseus as ad man and cuckold, Leopold Bloom, and the tipsy Telemachus, Stephen Dedalus as the Joyce the elder and the younger, respectively Joyce boldly launched the Modernist Literary Movement and the clever positioning by Morris Ernst as a modern classic helped pave the way for the legal publication of Ulysses in the USA and UK Those who stood by Joyce under the most adverse conditions and worst of times must have seen the promise and humanity and stylistic innovation of Ulysses to such an extent that they made incredible personal sacrifices to enable its author to achieve his literary immortality through their collective intercession on his behalf I cannot recommend this bookhighly to avid readers who value all of the writing of James Joyce As Van Gogh once said, Fear nothing Just paint Kevin Birmingham s vivid, scholarly and accessible book brings to life not only the complex genius of James Joyce but also his uncommon courage and those of his enlightened champions who clearly understood before anyone else how much of a contribution he made in Ulysses to literature and in our timeless understanding of the human condition The Most Dangerous Book attempts something big, and to a large extent pulls it off To tell not only the story of how James Joyce came to write Ulysses, his struggle to get it published in the face of critical and legal adversitities, and through that lens the story of how Victorian moralities and censorship laws were forced to make way for the modern ist world, never to be heard of again uh, maybe Joyce s novel represented not a finished monument of high culture but an ongoing fight for fr The Most Dangerous Book attempts something big, and to a large extent pulls it off To tell not only the story of how James Joyce came to write Ulysses, his struggle to get it published in the face of critical and legal adversitities, and through that lens the story of how Victorian moralities and censorship laws were forced to make way for the modern ist world, never to be heard of again uh, maybe Joyce s novel represented not a finished monument of high culture but an ongoing fight for freedom.And as a pure biography of Ulysses and the soil it sprang from Joyce s youth, the early modernist writers and the surrounding world of new political and literary ideas that weren t always always all that pleasant or peaceful, Joyce s love for Nora Barnacle, and the various unlikely characters who midwifed the novel strikingly many of them women it s both well researched and well written at times thrilling, funny, heartbreaking There are certainlyin depth works on Ulysses as a work of literature, but that s not what Birmingham is going for here What s uncanny about censorship in a liberal society is that sooner or later the government s goal is not just to ban objectionable books It is to act as if they don t exist The bans themselves should, whenever possible, remain secret.Because then you get to the big issue here the one that gave the book its title The actual question of just what feathers Ulysses ruffled, and how it could takethan 10 years for it to be legally published in most English speaking countries Birmingham being American, the world is pretty much limited to the US, the UK, and Paris And I m not saying these parts of the book aren t just as good between the historical background on censorship laws and the ideas and methods that went into them back when postal workers were essentially Big Brother, the various attempts to get att what the hell obscene even means, and the minutiae of everything surrounding the troubled road to legality It makes for a hell of a literary thriller, coupled with what is obviously a love for Ulysses itself, and I can t wait to re read the damn tome again The legalization of Ulysses announced the transformation of a culture A book that the American and British governments had burned en masse a few years earlier was now a modern classic, part of the heritage of Western civilization Official approval of Ulysses, in prominent federal decisions and behind closed doors, indicated that the culture of the 1910s and 1920s a culture of experimentation and radicalism, Dada and warfare, little magazines and birth control was not an aberration It had taken root Or,accurately, it indicated that rootedness itself was a fiction By sanctioning Ulysses, British and American authorities had, to some small but important degree, become philosophical anarchists There was no absolute authority, no singular vision for our society, no monolithic ideas towering over us.Obviously the book could have donesaidabout modernism as a whole, continued to draw parallels to political developments past the publication of Ulysses, etc, but that s not the focus here, so that s fine The main thing that irks me somewhat is that I feel like Birmingham tends to treat the central concept here, that of freedom of speech well, print just a tiny little bit too simplified as if it was something you either have or don t have, and that it was entirely the work of Joyce and his cheerleaders that shepherded the world from one side to the other Almost as if Freedom was a simple commodity, a word that means something in itself.But eh, you can t have everything Except of course by reading Ulysses and the word that shakes it all down is YES. I ve been raving to anyone who will listen about this wonderful new book from Kevin Birmingham about James Joyce s Ulysses Inevitably someone says that he she couldn t read Ulysses, so why read a critical book about an unreadable book Of course, I found the novel difficult also I understood and embraced some chapters and despaired over others But even in its difficulty, most people internalize some of its images, its magisterial sweep, its originality The idea is simple a single day in the I ve been raving to anyone who will listen about this wonderful new book from Kevin Birmingham about James Joyce s Ulysses Inevitably someone says that he she couldn t read Ulysses, so why read a critical book about an unreadable book Of course, I found the novel difficult also I understood and embraced some chapters and despaired over others But even in its difficulty, most people internalize some of its images, its magisterial sweep, its originality The idea is simple a single day in the life of Dubliner Leopold Bloom is a kind of odyssey, detailed and wandering, with parallels to the Greek epic Birmingham s carefully researched Most Dangerous Book leads the reader through the turmoil of the writing of Ulysses, its publication and censorship battles It s a great narrative No, you don t need to have read the novel but it will lend depth to the reading of The Most Dangerous Book if you have had your own wrestling match with the great sprawl which is Ulysses.It required the efforts of many people to bring Ulysses to a reading public lawyers, anarchists, smugglers, and, to my personal delight, fierce and unlikely women ready to give all in the service of James Joyce s book Modernists eager to embrace a new way of literature found their greatest cause in Joyce some of them never met him Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, who edited a tiny money losing publication called The Little Review, printed the early chapters in successive magazine issues Anderson had said to Heap, This is the most beautiful thing we ll ever have We ll print it if it s the last effort of our lives Harassed by censors, they ended up in court and lost.Sylvia Beach, protector of the Lost Generation in Paris, published the first edition of the novel in 1922 and finagled to smuggle the books into the United States She allowed Joyce to make costly revisions at the last minute, when the book was already typeset, so fully did she trust the instincts of Joyce s brilliant mind.A fourth unlikely woman was Harriet Weaver, an Englishwoman of means who delivered copies of Ulysses to book shops in London under the watchful eye of the police Harriet Weaver did something else important she kept sending Joyce money to give his family a roof and daily sustenance.Then there were the great boosters among other writers, especially Ezra Pound, but also T.S Eliot and Ernest Hemingway Lawyers John Quinn and Morris Ernst fought the court battles, and Bennett Cerf defended its literary value Essentially no one received money although Cerf, a true businessman, reaped his harvest in years to come.So many far sighted people recognized the worth of the book but there was the matter of the filth Joyce wanted to make his book encyclopedic, to include every single act and thought that invaded Leopold Bloom s day I was always told this was stream of consciousness, but Birmingham understands that Joyce s novel was a new rendering of the way people think, a leaping among thoughts, observations, actions Including sex, and defecation, and masturbation There had never been anything like it.In the landmark obscenity trial of 1933, the presiding judge, John Woolsey, came to court having read the novel This exchange between him and attorney Morris Ernst is my favorite moment in the book Ernst Your honor, while arguing to win this case I thought I was intent only on this book, but frankly, while pleading before you, I ve also been thinking about the ring around your tie, how your gown does not fit too well on your shoulders and the picture of John Marshall behind your bench The judge seemed to grasp his point I have listened as intently as I know how, Woolsey replied, but I must confess that while listening to you I ve been thinking about the Hepplewhite chair behind you That, Judge, said the lawyer, is the essence of Ulysses Woolsey agreed, and concluded that Ulysses was not obscene.Birmingham is an historian with a storytelling gift The first third of the 20th century is right here women s rights, World War I, obscenity laws, syphilis, the Lost Generation Amidst it all is the love story of James Joyce and Nora Barnacle that became a great novel I would give this book ten stars if possible Not only is this book interesting and engaging, but it falls under the category of important books to read Not only does it follow James Joyce as he writes ULYSSES and the difficulties that follow with the publication process due to it being deemed obscene, but this book gives a lot of information about the history of the suppression of published material in the U.S., England, and France in the early 1900s By reading about book burnings By rea I would give this book ten stars if possible Not only is this book interesting and engaging, but it falls under the category of important books to read Not only does it follow James Joyce as he writes ULYSSES and the difficulties that follow with the publication process due to it being deemed obscene, but this book gives a lot of information about the history of the suppression of published material in the U.S., England, and France in the early 1900s By reading about book burnings By reading about the suppression of not only ULYSSES, but other books and magazines as well, we can truly be grateful for what we have today We can also be empowered to make sure that further book banning is stopped and that the Press is free and open These days, Ulysses may seemeccentric than epoch changing, and it can be difficult to see how Joyce s novel how any novel, perhaps could have been revolutionary This is because all revolutions look tame from the other side This quotation comes near the end in The Most Dangerous Book, but sums up what you will find inside It isn t just the story of how Ulysses was banned and censored for obscenity and changed how literature is evaluated for these things, although that story in itself These days, Ulysses may seemeccentric than epoch changing, and it can be difficult to see how Joyce s novel how any novel, perhaps could have been revolutionary This is because all revolutions look tame from the other side This quotation comes near the end in The Most Dangerous Book, but sums up what you will find inside It isn t just the story of how Ulysses was banned and censored for obscenity and changed how literature is evaluated for these things, although that story in itself is fascinating the magazines run by Anarchists and their involvement, the efforts European countries and the United States were making to remove dangerous, dissenting voices from their populations, the role of the post office in the USA and the rising power of the police in the UK in addressing vice, obscenity, and women who might gasp become unwed mothers if exposed to such improper things apparently even then, that was the worst fear.It is also the story of Joyce himself When I read Ulysses, I read it alongside several companion books, but those only focused on the contents and their connections to the Odyssey, etc I never really knew where Joyce came from, anything about Nora, or his considerable poverty and health challenges.Nora, the great love of his wife, is an important force in his life and in his writing The author includes some of the letters they wrote back and forth to each other, and let s just say that Ulysses is quite mild in comparison I didn t know of Joyce s connections to key figures, for instance Ezra Pound, Emma Goldman, T.S Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Sigmund Freud, and Mark Twain The era, the locations, the politics, the wars all of these events created the unique situation for this great work to emerge I want to re read Ulysses now, with all this context in mind And now the bits I marked and can t bear to exclude, behind a cut potentially different in final version of book as I had an ARC view spoiler It made sense, in the heady years before World War I, to wage war through art To the radicals, high art was largely a political invention, a propaganda tool justifying empire, so to attack museum culture was to attack imperial power To artists like Joyce, who considered free expression sacrosanct, censorship epitomized the tyranny of state power, for the state not only banned obscenity, it decided what obscenity was One of the paradoxes of the war was that while Londoners bravely faced the possibility of being burned alive by thermite every time they went to the pub, they were less willing than ever to risk moral offense Egoism appealed to modernists who found politics hopeless In what seemed to be a permanent era of corporations and jostling empires, egoism provided anarchism with a way to retreat into culture while making that retreat seemlik a principled defiance The individual would defeat collectivism not through protests and dynamite but through philosophy, art, and literature Turn of the century individualist anarchists rejected political violence, deemphasized communal associations and celebrated a tradition of anarchist ideas already in circulation, from Wordsworth, Whitman and Zola to Thomas Paine, Rousseau, Nietzsche and Ibsen It suited Joyce perfectly An intellectual gulf separated the Galway girl from the artist, and yet in some ways she became a model for every reader he ever wanted The ideal reader, Joyce would write years later, suffers from an ideal insomnia He wanted people to read novels as carefully, as ardently and as sleeplessly as they would read dirty letters sent from abroad It was one of modernism s great insights James Joyce treated readers as if they were lovers More things to read The New AgeThe FreewomanThe New FreewomanThe EgoistThe Ego and His OwnThe Little ReviewMore people to read read about Katherine MansfieldDora Marsden hide spoiler Birmingham does an excellent job of portraying of the unsettled social and political environment that existed when Joyce began his work, and the array of personalities who worked for and against publication The scenes of American and British public battlegrounds alternate with descriptions of Joyce s personal battlegrounds of poverty, ill health and emotional outbursts Birmingham s pages regarding the trials, with their legal issues and arguments, are clear, even though I suspect they were sig Birmingham does an excellent job of portraying of the unsettled social and political environment that existed when Joyce began his work, and the array of personalities who worked for and against publication The scenes of American and British public battlegrounds alternate with descriptions of Joyce s personal battlegrounds of poverty, ill health and emotional outbursts Birmingham s pages regarding the trials, with their legal issues and arguments, are clear, even though I suspect they were significantlycomplex than he attempts to describe in this book.I enjoyed the early sections the most, for two reason First, because I had forgotten about the radical political elements of the pre WWI period that fostered fear and a conservative approach to any challenge to the status quo The anarchist bombings, in particular, unsettled law enforcement, and the fear bled over into, and strengthened, other conservative movements and the fanatics whose identity and power were wrapped up in them There are extensive background discussions of the anti obscenity organizations and campaigns in the United States, along with profiles of leaders Comstock and Sumner.Second, the early chapters highlight the radical women who championed modernist literature, the suffrage movement, and a broader feminst agenda They endured just as much poverty in some cases, and always considerablyrisk of imprisonment, than Joyce did The author notes the irony that so many legal impediments were erected to protect women from the smut of Ulysses, when women were responsible for inspiring it, serializing it, financing its author for years, and publishing the first edition Birmingham also enjoys the running tension between the wealthy but personally a bit uptight attorney John Quinn who was the early defender of publication rights in the US, and the women partners who ran the Little Review and actually serialized the first chapters of Ulysses He referred to them a those Washington Square women read, lesbians and supported their efforts on grudging principle.The other remarkable women are Miss Weaver in London and of course Sylvia Beach, in Paris But most of course, Nora The second half of the book focuses on the men who came to the fore as attitudes changed and critical opinion coalesced in Joyce s corner There is a poignant portrait of the man who published bootleg, corrupt copies of Ulysses in the US, and an admiring portrait of Judge Woolsey, who first allowed publication and indeed included a glowing review in his opinion.In fact, Random House printed Woolsey s opinion for many years in their editions of the book Birmingham includes an arm s length depiction of Bennett Cerf s creation of his company, and his pursuit of rights and the right to publish Ulyssess Perhaps ironically for someone who celebrates Molly s soliloquy, he is offended by Cerf s philandering, so the credit is grudging I picked up a used copy of Cerf s autobiography at a library book sale last week and plan to look up his version of the story.There are extensive quotes from the passages that were cited in court cases as obscene The pages I found the most emotional to read, however, were those with extensive graphic descriptions of Joyce s eye problems and surgeries Not for the faint of stomach Mine turned Thank goodness for penicillin.I note that other reviewers rate Birmingham as a bit light on literary analysis I have read Ulysses but no criticism, so I am probably pretty close to the audience that the author has in mind I can see the reviewers point, but the extent of literary criticism here suffices for Birmingham s purpose and encourages me to look up other exegeses You can t do everything in one book "/>
  • Hardcover
  • 419 pages
  • The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses
  • Kevin Birmingham
  • English
  • 08 March 2019
  • 1594203369