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Trial of Ulysses

5 F. Supp. 182 (1933)
District Court, S. D. New York.
December 6, 1933.

The U.S. government tried denying James Joyce's Ulysses "admittance into the United States." The government's motion was for a decree of forfeiture and destruction. The judge read the book to determine what was what. Here's some of what he said about it.

It would've been too difficult for a jury to read it:

It seems to me that a procedure of this kind is highly appropriate in libels such as this for the confiscation of books. It is an especially advantageous procedure in the instant case because, on account of the length of "Ulysses" and the difficulty of reading it, a jury trial would have been an extremely unsatisfactory, if not an almost impossible method of dealing with it.

Ulysses is a tough read:

"Ulysses" is not an easy book to read or to understand...The study of "Ulysses" is...a heavy task.

The judge liked and loathed the book:

Furthermore, "Ulysses" is an amazing tour de force when one considers the success which has been in the main achieved with such a difficult objective as Joyce set for himself. As I have stated, "Ulysses" is not an easy book to read. It is brilliant and dull, intelligible and obscure, by turns. In many places it seems to me to be disgusting, but although it contains, as I have mentioned above, many words usually considered dirty, I have not found anything that I consider to be dirt for dirt's sake. Each word of the book contributes like a bit of mosaic to the detail of the picture which Joyce is seeking to construct for his readers.

Ulysses was sexy but not sexy:

...reading "Ulysses" in its entirety, as a book must be read on such a test as this, did not tend to excite sexual impulses or lustful thoughts, but that its net effect on them was only that of a somewhat tragic and very powerful commentary on the inner lives of men and women..."Ulysses" may, therefore, be admitted into the United States.
...and all together groovy individual. Truth.

Curiosity. Tenacity. Empathy. Love.

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