The year of Ulysses: 2022 marks centenary of Joyce’s experimental masterpiece

Beloved by millions, incomprehensible to millions more, the novel is now firmly embedded in Irish culture

James Joyce. Some wonder whether Joyce’s revolutionary volume is being treated as a safe cultural commodity, useful for attracting visitors but losing its relevance as it does so. Photograph: Culture Club/Getty Images

James Joyce. Some wonder whether Joyce’s revolutionary volume is being treated as a safe cultural commodity, useful for attracting visitors but losing its relevance as it does so. Photograph: Culture Club/Getty Images

Shortly after James Joyce took possession of the first copies of Ulysses in his Paris home on February 2nd, 1922, his 40th birthday, it became clear the world was not ready.

In Britain, the director of public prosecutions ordered the book burned due to its “unmitigated filth”. In the United States, customs officials were so vigilant that elaborate smuggling schemes were devised by readers and retailers.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.