Ulysses by James Joyce, 1934 American edition

Description

This is the 1934 American Random House edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Prior to 1934, Ulysses was effectively outlawed in north America following prosecution for obscenity against The Little Review (the American journal that serialised the novel from 1918 to 1920), and the seizing and destruction of the second London edition by the United States Postal Services in October 1922.

It was a landmark moment, then, when on 6 December 1933 US District Judge John M Woolsey ruled that Ulysses was an artistic, rather than pornographic, work, and therefore could not be declared obscene. Random House and lawyer Morris Ernst had arranged to import the French edition by ship, intending for it to be seized by customs – thus allowing them to dispute the claim of obscenity in court. Backed up by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in early 1934, this edition was subsequently published in 1934. Although not banned, the novel was still not freely available in the UK or Ireland. The preface to this edition provides detailed information on this ‘monumental decision’ (p. ix).

The 1934 edition was bound in a white cloth, now discoloured, with black and red type, and features striking typography on the title page and opening chapter.

Full title:
Ulysses. (American edition. Fifth printing.)
Published:
1934, New York, US
Publisher:  
Random House
Format:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
James Joyce, John M Woolsey
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Cup.802.b.6.

Full catalogue details

Related articles

An introduction to Katherine Mansfield's short stories

Article by:
Stephanie Forward
Themes:
Exploring identity, Literature 1900–1950, Capturing and creating the modern

Katherine Mansfield was a pioneer of the modern short story. Here Stephanie Forward provides close readings of three short stories from Mansfield’s celebrated 1922 collection, The Garden Party and Other Stories.

Ulysses and obscenity

Article by:
David Bradshaw
Theme:
Literature 1900–1950

The writing and publication history of Ulysses was shaped by individuals and organisations trying to censor it, outraged by its explicit references to the human body and its iconoclasm. David Bradshaw describes the reactions to James Joyce's novel on both sides of the Atlantic, from its initial magazine serialisation in 1919 to the 1950s.

Cinema and modernism

Article by:
Laura Marcus
Themes:
Art, music and popular culture, Capturing and creating the modern

Modernism was concerned with everyday life, perception, time and the kaleidoscopic and fractured experience of urban space. Cinema, with its techniques of close-up, panning, flashbacks and montage played a major role in shaping experimental works such as Mrs Dalloway or Ulysses. Here Laura Marcus explores the impact of cinema on modernist literature.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

Ulysses

Created by: James Joyce

Ulysses, a novel by the Irish writer James Joyce, is a key text of literary modernism. Divided into 18 chapters, it ...