United States V. One Book Called Ulysses
United States v. One Book Called Ulysses was a 1933 case in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dealing with freedom of expression. At issue was whether James Joyce's novel Ulysses was obscene. In deciding it was not, Judge John M. Woolsey opened the door to importation and publication of serious works of literature that used coarse language or involved sexual subjects.
The trial court's decision was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which confirmed that offensive language in a literary work is not obscene where it does not promote lust. But Judge Woolsey's trial court opinion is now more widely known, and often cited as an erudite and discerning affirmation of literary free expression.
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“In the United States, though power corrupts, the expectation of power paralyzes.”
—John Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1908)
“At bottom there is in Joyce a profound hatred for humanitythe scholars hatred. One realizes that he has the neurotics fear of entering the living world, the world of men and women in which he is powerless to function. He is in revolt not against institutions, but against mankind.... Ulysses is like a vomit spilled by a delicate child whose stomach has been overloaded with sweetmeats.”
—Henry Miller (18911980)
“In the game of Whist for two, usually called Correspondence, the lady plays what card she likes: the gentleman simply follows suit. If she leads with Queen of Diamonds, however, he may, if he likes, offer the Ace of Hearts: and, if she plays Queen of Hearts, and he happens to have no Heart left, he usually plays Knave of Clubs.”
—Lewis Carroll [Charles Lutwidge Dodgson] (18321898)
“What lies behind facts like these: that so recently one could not have said Scott was not perfect without earning at least sorrowful disapproval; that a year after the Gang of Four were perfect, they were villains; that in the fifties in the United States a nothing-man called McCarthy was able to intimidate and terrorise sane and sensible people, but that in the sixties young people summoned before similar committees simply laughed.”
—Doris Lessing (b. 1919)
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—John Paxton (19111985)
“I havent read one book about
A book or memorized one plot,
Or found a mind I did not doubt,
I learned one date. And then forgot.
And one by one the solid scholars
Get the degrees, the jobs, the dollars.”
—William Dewitt Snodgrass (b. 1926)