Happy Bloomsday

In addition to the Joyce and Becket video in the previous post, here’s a couple more things in celebration of Bloomsday.

I once heard that James Joyce wrote to his wife Nora that he could pick out her farts in a room full of farting women. Today I finally got to read the entire thing, as well as others of his dirty letters. Filthy, filthy stuff.

Also, check out Eve Arnold’s photo of Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses.

06.16.2010Tagged with:    

Pitch ‘n’ Putt with Joyce ‘n’ Beckett


Ulysses: Fast Track to 1934 Best Seller

While James Joyce was still writing his novel Ulysses in 1918, the journal The Little Review began serializing it for the American audience. When they got to the episode that portrays the novel’s protagonist Leopold Bloom masturbating, an obscenity charge was leveled at The Little Review, and Ulysses was subsequently banned in the United States. Random House was committed to publishing it, though. They went so far as to have a French edition of the book imported, and then informed customs of its arrival so that it would be seized – all so they could contest the ban in court.

Imagine you’re a big American publisher, and there’s a book infamous for its subject and language that you want to publish — but first, you have to go up against the US government to prove it should no longer be banned. And, given the publicity of the court case, you want the book in the bookstores as soon as it’s legal.

This describes the situation facing Random House in 1933 as they waited to publish James Joyce’s Ulysses, which had not been allowed into the US for 12 years. How they got the ban dropped and delivered the book at just the right moment is a short tale of legal, design and production choreography.

Don’t miss the slide show. I’d love to get a closer look at this spread published by Random House in Saturday Review of Literature:

12.24.2009Tagged with: