If I were in Abilene surrounded by people I know, I might suggest doing something like a “read in” or book party at the library or Mezamiz or something like that to celebrate Banned Books Week. But I’m not there, and I haven’t made friends here yet (many cordial acquaintances, a few probable future friends, but no one I would feel comfortable asking to do eccentric things with me), so instead I’m going to celebrate by rereading James Joyce’s Ulysses. I’ve read this before and enjoyed it, but to be honest, there’s not a lot about it I remember well. I think I’ll catch more this time around. To help me read and understand it, I’ll be consulting The New Bloomsday Book (provided I can find it amongst all my moving boxes…) and whatever scholarly articles I can find. I’ll post thoughts and so forth– reading notes, essentially– as I go. If any of you would like to read Ulysses, too, that would be super awesome. It would be extra super awesome if you’d share your thoughts in the comments section as we go along.
According to the ALA’s website, Ulysses was burned in the U.S., Ireland, Canada, and England between 1918-1923. (That’s right, burned!!! You know who burns books? Nazis. Also those guys in Fahrenheit 451. Nobody likes either of those guys. Let’s not be like them.) It was banned in England in 1929. There’s no reason given for any of these actions, but perhaps we can guess now and then come up with some informed guesses as we read.
I’m going to try to be sensitive to the fact that Ulysses is read primarily as a school assignment, and that students often consult the internet for help, and that sometimes that “help” becomes that icky thing called “PLAGIARISM.” I won’t write anything smart enough for anyone to steal (imho), and I’m going to try to avoid putting anything that could be cut and pasted into a semester paper. That said, sometimes cheaters put more effort into cheating than they would expend doing the assignment honestly in the first place, so there may be some wily folks who turn in my words for credit. SHAME ON YOU! Those are MY ideas!!! But for the most part, I’m just going to assume that 1. no one cares about Ulysses anyway, and 2. those who do are basically good and honest people.
Wanna read with me?