The Honorable Woolsey
In honor of Banned Book Week, here are a few
excerpts from Judge Woolsey’s landmark
decision, written on December 6, 1933:
“...The motion for a decree dismissing the libel
herein is granted, and, consequently, of course,
the Government's motion for a decree of
forfeiture and destruction is denied......
... But in "Ulysses", in spite of its unusual
frankness, I do not detect anywhere the leer of
the sensualist. I hold, therefore, that it is not
.... The words which are criticized as dirty are
old Saxon words known to almost all men and,
I venture, to many women, and are such words
as would be naturally and habitually used... In
respect of the recurrent emergence of the theme
of sex in the minds of his characters, it must
always be remembered that his locale was Celtic
and his season Spring....
.... I am quite aware that owing to some of its
scenes "Ulysses" is a rather strong draught to
ask some sensitive, though normal, persons to
take. But my considered opinion, after long
reflection, is that whilst in many places the effect
of "Ulysses" on the reader undoubtedly is some-
what emetic, nowhere does it tend to be an
aphrodisiac. "Ulysses" may, therefore, be
admitted into the United States.
JOHN M. WOOLSEY
United States District Judge”
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