1933 December 6

Classic Novel “Ulysses” Ruled Not Pornographic!


In one of the most important censorship cases of the 1930s, United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, District Court Judge John M. Woolsey declared James Joyce’s celebrated novel Ulysses to be not pornographic. Ulysses is generally considered the greatest novel in the English language. Judge Woolsey’s decision was upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on August 7, 1934.

Judge Woolsey: “Whether a particular book would tend to excite such impulses and thoughts must be tested by the Court’s opinion as to its effect on a person with average sex instincts — what the French would call “l’homme moyen sensuel” — who plays, in this branch of legal inquiry, the same role of hypothetical reagent as does the “reasonable man” in the law of torts and “the man learned in the art” on questions of invention in patent law.”

Read Judge Woolsey’s complete opinion: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5544515174778878625&q=

Read the full story of the legal problems of Ulysses: Kevin Birmingham, The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses (2014)

Read the classic novel: James Joyce, Ulysses (Find an edition that contains Judge Woolsey’s opinion)

Learn more at the James Joyce Centre: http://jamesjoyce.ie/

Learn more about the trials of Ulysses: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/ulysses/Ulysseslinks.html

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