Ulysses and the Young Person

  • Paul Vanderham


From the beginning of its appearance in The Little Review, Ulysses had called forth an angry stream of letters protesting at Joyce’s disturbing candor. The stream swelled to a flood with the publication of the third and final instalment of ‘Nausicaa,’ in which Leopold Bloom, aroused by Gerty MacDowell’s erotic display of her undergarments, relieves himself by masturbating in his pants.1 Many of these letters, like that quoted in the introduction, expressed the fear that Ulysses might ‘reach young minds.’2 For Margaret Anderson, this fear heralded The Little Review’s imminent conflict with the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, an organization working diligently to protect the ‘young minds’ in question.3


Young Person Literary Work Expert Testimony District Attorney Young Mind 
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  1. 5.
    As quoted by John Sumner, ‘The Truth About “Literary Lynching,”’ The Dial, 71:1 (Jul. 1921), p. 67.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    Literature at Nurse, or Circulating Morals: A Polemic on Victorian Censorship, ed. Pierre Coustillas (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1976), p. 21.Google Scholar
  3. 41.
    Anderson, ‘Ulysses in Court,’ LR, 7:4 (Jan.–Mar. 1921), p. 23Google Scholar
  4. 49.
    Some confusion exists as to who really testified at the Special Sessions trial. In My Thirty Years’ War Anderson claims that Thayer testified and ‘was forced to admit’ that he would not have published Ulysses in the Dial (p. 220). In ‘Ulysses in Court,’ however, she indicates that only Powys and Moeller were allowed to testify. I follow Jackson Bryer in preferring the latter account, one which is corroborated by an article in Publishers’ Weekly, 19 Feb. 1921, p. 522. See Jackson Bryer, ‘Joyce, Ulysses, and the Little Review,’ South Atlantic Quarterly, 66 (1967), p. 161.Google Scholar
  5. 73.
    Anderson, ‘An Obvious Statement (for the millionth time),’ LR, 7:3 (Sep.–Dec. 1920), pp. 8–9.Google Scholar
  6. 79.
    Letter to John Quinn, 5 Apr. 1921, as quoted by Herbert Gorman, James Joyce (New York, Toronto: Rinehart & Company, 1948), p. 280.Google Scholar
  7. 80.
    Sylvia Beach, Shakespeare and Company (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1959), p. 47.Google Scholar

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© Paul Vanderham 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Vanderham

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