Still Obscene After All These Years

(Cross-posted at Busy Being Born)

That right there is an illustration from Ulysses Seen, the comic (as in comic book) version of Joyce’s novel that has been banned by Apple just in time for Bloomsday:

History is repeating itself again, this time in Apple’s (AAPL) App Store. Sarah Weinman at the Daily Finance says that a Webcomic adaptation of the book, Rob Berry and Josh Levitas’ Ulysses Seen, has been banned from iPads and iPhones because of cartoon nudity. Here is a picture of an offending panel (courtesy of Robot 6), in which stately, plump Buck Mulligan dives nude into the sea.

Obviously this says more about Apple, and maybe contemporary mores, than it does about Joyce or the Ulysses Seen creators, but it’s still a nice little coup for Joyce’s legacy that his supposedly pornographic book, banned in America for 17 years after its first publication, is still capable of eliciting discomfort among prudes almost 90 years after he wrote it.

Reading it in college a few years ago, the aspect of Ulysses that struck me hardest was the sheer modernness of it; famously structured like a Greek epic, awash in exacting period detail of 1904 Ireland, and written nearly a century ago, Ulysses still feels contemporary in its bawdy and frank sexuality. As someone who loves the book, I’d prefer this aspect of the novel to be spoken of more, rather than the silly and anti-intellectual discussions of whether it’s “unreadable” or too difficult to enjoy.

So bully to Apple for reminding people that Ulysses isn’t just an affecting, unique reading experience, but also one filled with cunts and twats, cocks and assholes, shit, piss, and cum. And it’s funny!


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. [...] (Cross-posted at The Constant Conversation) [...]

    Posted by Still Obscene After All These Years | June 10, 2010, 7:17 pm
  2. I wonder how many graphic novels Apple will have to ban given that many have nudity in it.

    Posted by Soo Jin Oh | June 11, 2010, 12:38 am
  3. Seems that Apple sells a few pop songs and music videos with, ahem, mature content . . .

    Posted by Scott Esposito | June 12, 2010, 12:16 am

blog advertising is good for you


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