Monday, July 15, 2013

The Scandal of Ulysses

The Scandal of Ulysses
Sporting Times, no. 34 (April 1922)

After a bored perusal of James Joyce's Ulysses, published in Paris, I can realize one reason  at least for the Yankee judges fined the "Little Review"  $100 for the original publication of a very rancid chapter of the Joyce stuff, which appears to have written by a perverted lunatic who has made a specialty of the latrine.

As the readers of the "Pink'un" know, I have dealt appreciatively with many unconventional books in these pages; but I have no stomach for Ulysses...James Joyce is a writer of talent, but in Ulysses, he has ruled out all the elementary decencies of life and dwells appreciatively on things that sneering louts of schoolboys guffaw about. In to that, this stupid glorification of mere filth, the book suffers from being written in the manner of the demented George Meredith. There are whole chapters of it without any punctuation, or other guide as to what the writer is really getting at. Two-thirds of it are incoherent, and the passages that are plainly written are devoid of wit, displaying only a coarse salacity intended for humor.

The main contents of the book are enough to make a Hottentot sick. Ulysses would have been boycotted in the palmiest days of Holywell Street. And yet there a number of New York intellectuals who declare that Joyce has written the best book in the world, and that Ulysses is the topmost of them.

Over one supremely nauseous chapter, that the publishers were indicted on,  a great deal of highbrow nonsense was talked in court for the defense by a Mr. Moeller.  He said in bland tones that the chapter was a "Unveiling of the subconscious mind, in the Freudian manner, and that he saw no possibility of these revelations being aphrodisiac in their influence"

The court gasped, and one of the Judges protested: "See  here, you might as well talk in Russian. Speak in plain English if you want us to understand what you are saying".

Moeller was asked what he thought would be the effect of an objectionable chapter on the mind of the average reader.  Moeller responded "I think it would mystify him".

It would have  also have a similar effect of an ordinary emetic. Ulysses is not only pornographic, it is intensely dull.  As the volume is about the size of the London Telephone directory, I do not envy anyone who reads it for pleasure.

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