"Ulysses" by James Joyce is a controversial/obscene book in history, but why is it?

I have never read the book, so I cannot understand as to why the book is so controversial. Why exactly was it banned? Obscenity as in what manner? Anyone know?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In 1920 after the US magazine The Little Review serialized a passage of the book dealing with the main character masturbating, a group called the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, who objected to the book's content, took action to attempt to keep the book out of the United States. At a trial in 1921 the magazine was declared obscene and as a result Ulysses was banned in the United States. In 1933, the publisher Random House arranged to import the French edition and have a copy seized by customs when the ship was unloaded, which it then contested. In United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, U.S. District Judge John M. Woolsey ruled on December 6, 1933 that the book was not pornographic and therefore could not be obscene, a decision that has been called "epoch-making" by Stuart Gilbert. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling in 1934.


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Ulysses is best known for its stream-of-consciousness style, where Joyce forces readers to become intimately familiar with his characters' thoughts no matter how fragmentary and disoriented they may be.

    From Shmoop

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