Colin Murphy: Lessons for today’s conflict over free speech in long-ago attempt to 'cancel' Ulysses

The now largely forgotten figure of John Munro Woolsey was instrumental in getting one of literature’s greatest ever works into publication in the US

13th June, 2021
Colin Murphy: Lessons for today’s conflict over free speech in long-ago attempt to 'cancel' Ulysses
As the centenary of James Joyce’s Ulysses approaches, it is worth reflecting on what lessons the legal battle over its publication might hold for today. Picture: Sipa/Shutterstock

Wednesday is Bloomsday, that day of the year when people in Dublin and across the world flounce around in boater hats, bow ties and period frocks in tribute to a book that is far more admired than read.

No matter. Most of us haven’t read St Patrick’s Confessio, but that’s not a requirement to enjoy Paddy’s Day. Joyce was a satirist, a comic, an absurdist: that the anniversary of the day on which his Ulysses...

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