Most Dangerous Book The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses

ISBN-10: 1594203369
ISBN-13: 9781594203367
Edition: 2014
Authors: Kevin Birmingham
List price: $29.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: For more 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 the United States. James Joyce’s big blue book, Ulysses, ushered in the  More...

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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 6/12/2014
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 432
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.45" tall
Weight: 1.848
Language: English

For more 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 the United States. 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 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 freedom to publish. The Most Dangerous Book tells the remarkable story of Ulysses, from the first stirrings of Joyce’s inspiration in 1904 to its landmark federal obscenity trial in 1933.Literary historian Kevin Birmingham follows Joyce’s 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 antivice crusaders while his book was disguised and smuggled, pirated and burned around the world. The long struggle for publication added to the growing pressure 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. With their stewardship, the case ultimately rested on the literary merit of Joyce’s master work. Because a federal judge could get inside Molly Bloom’s head, the sixty-year old obscenity laws in the United States were overturned.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 an empathetic, gripping examination of how the world came to say yes to Ulysses.

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