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Ulysses at War

  • Paul Vanderham

Abstract

Upon reading the first three episodes of Ulysses, Ezra Pound foresaw that Joyce’s novel would run afoul of censors on both sides of the Atlantic: ‘I suppose we’ll be damn well suppressed,’ he wrote to Joyce, ‘if we print the text as it stands.’1 Yet the risk of suppression, Pound added, was well worth running because of the brilliance of Joyce’s art. As foreign editor of The Little Review, Pound conveyed both opinions to Margaret Anderson in New York. According to Anderson, Pound praised Joyce’s work highly, but warned that ‘it would probably involve [them] in difficulties with the censors.’2 Anderson agreed on both counts. Upon reading the opening lines of the third episode (‘Proteus’) — ‘Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide’ — she declared, ‘This is the most beautiful thing we’ll ever have.’3 In the same breath she implicitly acknowledged that publishing Ulysses would involve a struggle with the censors: ‘We’ll print it if it’s the last effort of our lives.’

Keywords

Esthetic Objection Strong Word Beautiful Thing Foreign Editor Earth Goddess 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 13.
    Leslie Fishbein, Rebels in Bohemia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982), p. 28.Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    Zechariah Chafee, Jr, Freedom of Speech (New York, 1920), p. 55, as quoted byGoogle Scholar
  3. Peterson and Fite, Opponents of War (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1957), p. 97.Google Scholar
  4. 22.
    Letter to John Quinn, 3 Apr. 1918, The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound to John Quinn, 1915–1924, ed. Timothy Materer (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1991), p. 147.Google Scholar
  5. 38.
    The ethereal, mystical nature of Pound’s eroticism has been elaborately documented by Kevin Oderman, Ezra Pound and the Erotic Medium (Durham: Duke University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  6. 39.
    H. Carpenter, A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988), p. 321.Google Scholar
  7. For a fuller account of Pound’s Eleusinian interests, see Leon Surette, A Light from Eleusis (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  8. 47.
    The Letters of Virginia Woolf, vol II: 1912–1922, ed. Nigel Nicholson (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976), p. 551;Google Scholar
  9. Diary of Virginia Woolf, vol. II: 1920–1924, ed. Anne Oliver Bell (London: Hogarth, 1978), entry for 26 Sep. 1922. Like Pound, Woolf was displeased by what she referred to squeamishly as ‘the p-ing of a dog’ in the ‘Proteus’ episode (The Letters of Virginia Woolf, vol. II, p. 234).Google Scholar
  10. 48.
    As quoted by Foster Damon, Amy Lowell: A Chronicle (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935), p. 497.Google Scholar
  11. 54.
    R.H.C. [A.R. Orage], ‘Readers and Writers,’ New Age (28 Apr. 1921), p. 306.Google Scholar
  12. 55.
    ‘Weaving, Unweaving,’ in A Star Chamber Quiry: A James Joyce Centennial Volume 1882–1982, ed. E.L. Epstein (New York: Methuen, 1982), p. 45.Google Scholar
  13. 56.
    John Middleton Murray, review of Ulysses, Nation & Athenaeum, xxxi (22 Apr. 1922), p. 124.Google Scholar
  14. 59.
    New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, Annual Report, 1919, as quoted by Paul S. Boyer, Purity in Print: The Vice Society Movement and Book Censorship in America (New York: Scribner’s, 1968), p. 67.Google Scholar
  15. 63.
    Robert K. Murray, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919–1920, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1955), pp. 59–60.Google Scholar
  16. 83.
    Robert K. Murray, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919–1920 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1955), p. 239.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul Vanderham 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Vanderham

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