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The Most Dangerous Book

The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses

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Description

Recipient of the 2015 PEN New England Award for Nonfiction

“The arrival of a significant young nonfiction writer . . . A measured yet bravura performance.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times


James Joyce’s big blue book, Ulysses, ushered in the modernist era and changed the novel for all time. But the genius of Ulysses was also its danger: it omitted absolutely nothing. Joyce, along with some of the most important publishers and writers of his era, had to fight for years to win the freedom to publish it. The Most Dangerous Book tells the remarkable story surrounding Ulysses, from the first stirrings of Joyce’s inspiration in 1904 to the book’s landmark federal obscenity trial in 1933. Written for ardent Joyceans as well as novices who want to get to the heart of the greatest novel of the twentieth century, The Most Dangerous Book is a gripping examination of how the world came to say Yes to Ulysses.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 03, 2014 – In this exultant literary history and nonfiction debut, Harvard lecturer Birmingham recounts the remarkable publication saga of Ulysses, often considered the greatest novel of the 20th century. Even before its publication in 1922, Ulysses outraged government censors on both sides of the Atlantic, with its obscenities, masturbation, and adulterous sex. Even the bowdlerized excerpts published in the Little Review resulted in an obscenity trial for the journal’s editors. But a band of literary radicals and free speech activists—Ezra Pound, Sylvia Beach, Samuel Roth, Bennett Cerf, and Morris Ernst, among others—who were determined to see the book published in America, helped initiate the landmark 1933 obscenity case that set a precedent for First Amendment rights and cultural freedom. The presiding judge, John Woolsey, ruled that the book was not obscene on the grounds of the aesthetic value in its attempt to capture all of life and the roving nature of human thought. This epic of the human body that initially had to be smuggled or pirated became a bestseller and a literary landmark. Drawing upon extensive research, Birmingham skillfully converts the dust of the archive into vivid narrative, steeping readers in the culture, law, and art of a world forced to contend with a masterpiece.
The Most Dangerous Book
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jun 12, 2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 432 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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