Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The 100th Birthday of a Banned Book

Today, February 2nd, 2022, is the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses.  Joyce's novel is widely regarded to be the most important work of fiction of the 20th century. Published in Paris in 1922, this novel explored the narrative technique of stream of consciousness and a range of other experimental styles. It was banned in Britain and the United States until the mid-1930s because of its exuberant illustration of the functions of the human body, and also the book’s criticism of mainstream views on religion, and nationalism. Set in Dublin on a single day, June 16th, 1904, the book features many of that city’s residents but three characters– the young man Stephen Dedalus, the older Leopold Bloom, and his wife Molly – dominate the book, as does the geography, language and character of Dublin city

First Page
Cover of 1934 Edition

In 2005, one of MBA’s most generous friends presented MBA with a copy of the 1922 edition (only 1,000 copies were printed), and a copy of the USA, 1934 first edition (the first “unbanned” version). The 1934 edition features original inserts of line drawings by Matisse, depicting scenes from Homer’s The Odyssey.

Illustrations by Henri Matisse


Both of these editions of the novel may be viewed in the school’s Patrick Wilson Library.

The Iconic Final Lines

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