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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ulysses fan? Today is Bloomsday - here's my favorite quote from Joyce's obscenity trial

Today is Bloomsday, a celebration of James Joyce's Ulysses (wiki), a novel about a day in the life of Leopold Bloom as he wanders about Dublin. The festivities generally involve reading the novel aloud (generally a group project, and it takes a loooong time) and drinking.

My favorite bit of trivia about Ulysses comes from Joyce's obscenity trial (the book was banned in various places for quite a while):
 “[i]n respect of the recurrent emergence of the theme of sex in the minds of [Joyce's] characters, it must always be remembered that his locale was Celtic and his season Spring.”
Final lines from Ulysses are from Molly Bloom, who is lying in bed with her lover: 
" ...I was a flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."
Here's an interesting article on the background of the obscenity trial against the book - the publisher went to a LOT of trouble to force a trial: The Worst (And Most Important) Smuggling Job in the History of Literature.

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