December 6, 1933 – “Ulysses” Ruled “Not Obscene” in U.S. District Court

On this day in history, Judge John Woolsey of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that James Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses could be admitted to the U. S., because it was not “dirt for dirt’s sake,” written with the “leer of the sensualist,” but “a sincere and serious attempt to devise a new literary method for the observation and description of mankind”:

I am quite aware that owing to some of its scenes Ulysses is a rather strong draught to ask some sensitive though normal person to take. But my considered opinion, after long reflection, is that whilst in many places the effect of Ulysses on the reader undoubtedly is somewhat emetic, nowhere does it tend to be an aphrodisiac.”

Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses

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