chapter  92
1 Pages

Ulysses and Censorship 1921

Just when we in Europe were beginning to envy America her promise, contrasting it with the winter of our own discontent, 'the authorities' (as one might say the furies, the parcae or the weird sisters) have descended upon our unfortunate but deserving friend, the Little Review, and suspended its mail service on account of its publication of a chapter of Mr. James Joyce's new novel, Ulysses. That such an absurd act of puritanic spleen should be possible after and before years of world-war is evidence that, after all, spiritual meanness is hard to transcend; and it confirms the justice or, at least the apprehension expressed in Mr. Ezra Pound's bon mot that the U.S.A. should be renamed the Y.M.C.A. Not only is the Little Review perfectly harmless; would to heaven, indeed, that it were or could be otherwise, for never can any good be done by something incapable of doing harm; but the Ulysses of Mr. James Joyce is one of the most interesting literary symptoms in the whole literary world, and its publication is very nearly a public obligation. Such sincerity, such energy, such fearlessness as Mr. Joyce's are rare in any epoch, and most of all in our own; and on that very account they demand to be given at least the freedom of the Press. What the giant American can fear from Mr. Joyce or from his publication in the Little Review passes understanding. Abounding in every variety of crime and stupidity as America is, even if Ulysses were a literary crime committed in a journal of the largest circulation, one more or less could not