The NY Times posed an intriguing question in the Sunday edition:
If ULYSSES were published today, would it cause a whimper or a bang? Recall those days some eight decades ago when the US Postal authorities seized and burned the work. Copies were hidden behind newsstands and whispered about at chic parties. Naturally ULYSSES was banned in Boston and Joyce was renounced by churches in Ireland and elsewhere.Obscenity became obsession.
When the US SUPREME COURT tackled the issue the furor subsided a bit. Since few people agreed about or knew what “contemporary community standards” meant, the discretion of local communities broadened.
Fast forward to 2015. With the rise of the Internet, Amazon, Youtube etc. the “contemporary community standard” is now a
UNIVERSAL one. Frankly “50 Shades” and its descendants, render Molly Blume’s fantasies and her husband’s self-gratification rather tame or dare I say it, ho-hum.
I forced myself to plow through the endless stream of consciousness just to see if I could survive. Frankly I have always thought that DH Lawrence was far more naughty because he was easier to understand.
Bottom line: James Joyce would probably be feted by the New Yorker or the Times but his master work (ULYSSES) would excite little interest and even less passion. After viewing Season 3 of Orange is the New Black, I can truthfully say that Joyce seems almost GENTILE: in his portrayal of naughty acts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.