It is a bit overwhelming to think that what I am writing can be seen by ANYONE! My mom, my dad, my hairdresser, my boss, shoot even my gynecologist! Do I hold back my thoughts or give forth freely? If you know me I don’t tend to hold back an opinion but I find myself a bit reserved as I begin to type. As I think about the prologue to this book, I know I need to embrace the freedom of speech and say whatever the heck I want to! That is exactly what James Joyce did and look he is at the top of the 100! Okay – I am leaping in….
I am normally one to skip prologues to books yet keeping to the spirit of our literary adventure, I did indeed read the prologue to Ulysses. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a fascinating glimpse into a crazy time in our history – prohibition. I didn’t realize it included censorship of books. Before a book could be imported in had to be read and deemed ‘okay’ to the standards of the day. Ulysses didn’t and was banned from importation to the U.S. Why, you ask? Pornography! Yup, I said it! (I wonder what search engines pick up that word?) That got my attention. What in the world could be in this book that would keep it from entering our country?
John Woolsey, I should say, The Honorable John Woolsey, of the highest court wrote the opinion on repealing the ban on this book. He even went so far as to define pornography in the terms of the law. No, I won’t tell you. You have to read for yourself. He discusses the depths and layers of Ulysses and that James Joyce was not writing about sex to be sexual but to be factual to his characters. I am all for ‘mind candy’ and am known to read a cheap, tawdry romance novel now and again. (For those that don’t – there is s-e-x in them). I am interested to see where we were in ‘obscenity’ and censorship compared to where we are today. I must say I am intimidated when a Supreme Court Justice says he found the book to be complicated. How will I be able to figure it out? Still it seemed intriguing to me and Heather would not speak to me if I backed out now. Let the adventure begin!