The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ulysses is not a book I've read. Yeah, I've read close to 1000 books in the last four years, but Ulysses is not one of them and is likely never going to be one of them. This book, however, is sort of a biography of Ulysses, from Joyce's writing it to the publication of it to the censorship battles waged over it.
I'm always curious about how society and governments handle subversive art in whatever forms they come in, so the benefit of this book is less the discussion of whether Ulysses was art or obscene or both (although there is some discussion), but rather how the work survived some of the worst times in semi-modern history for this sort of censorial activity. Especially coming from a time where we discuss banned books even though the ban usually amounts to not being on the shelf you'd expect, the sort of smuggling operations for a work like this were impressive to read about. That we get a glimpse into the character of James Joyce is also a plus, especially considering how fundamental it is to the overall tale.
A good read overall. Maybe more meaningful to those who enjoy or appreciate Ulysses, but I got a lot of out this book in a lot of ways.
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