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TOPIC: Committee on Evil Literature

Committee on Evil Literature 26 Feb 2016 05:17 #1

  • Robert Baird
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It is very hard for people who never get the truth from any media outlet including schools and the pulpit, to understand what 'evil lurks in the hearts of men' (Green Lantern). I do not believe in evil or death (of the soul) and I think I understand what people mean by the word evil very well. I do not think they have studied the concept of evil throughout history and they cannot scientifically or otherwise prove it exists. The continuum of behaviour from good to it's opposite (bad) can be extreme but there is nothing more opposite to good than calling freedom of any sort (including written literature) an evil. I would agree their should be laws restricting the dissemination of hate and extreme pornography, but I cannot imagine a book which is more of either of those things than the Bible. It ranks very high in sedition and treason against any race or nation in it's interpretations by every side of most issues including sexuality as well. Mein Kampf is a safer and more interesting study of morality.

So why would James Joyce have his books banned or burned? Is it the fact that he wrote about the 5,000 year nightmare we have which passes for government and religious hegemony? I can understand Yeats being banned in Church circles including cults like Scientology which needs to control the every thought of it's members in fear they might actually learn what is being done to them and where their fearless leader got his supposed technology from. I suppose Shaw's support for socialism or common decency was threatening, but most average people could not even begin to interpret Ulysses.

"In the mid-1920s, the Minister for Justice established a Committee on Evil Literature to examine Ireland’s censorship laws. The Committee’s conclusion was that the laws were insufficient, and a Censorship of Publications Act was passed in 1929. The Act established a Censorship of Publications Board to assess individual publications and to advise the Minister.

In his letter of invitation to Joyce, Yeats explained that the planned Academy was to be “a vigorous body capable of defending our interests, negociating [sic] with Government, and I hope preventing the worst forms of censorship.” Perhaps to encourage Joyce to join, he added that all the writers who would form the Council of the Academy were ‘students’ of Joyce’s work. Apart from Yeats and Shaw, Padraic Colum, Sean O’Faolain, Frank O’Connor, Austin Clarke, Lennox Robinson, and St John Ervine were among the members.

Joyce didn’t reply to Yeats’ letter immediately, and he received another letter of invitation from Bernard Shaw shortly afterwards with a copy of the rules of the Academy. Joyce replied to Yeats on 5 October 1932, reminding Yeats that it was thirty years since Yeats first offered Joyce help and thanking him and Shaw for their invitation. Though he wished them success in their venture, he claimed he could see no reason why his name should have been considered for the Academy. In a letter to Harriet Weaver, he claimed he was declining it because he lived abroad and his eyesight was poor.

Given Joyce’s experiences with censorship in America and in Britain, it seems strange perhaps that he did not want to join the Academy. Curiously, though Joyce’s Ulysses was banned in the US and had been destroyed by customs officers in Britain, it was never banned by the Censorship of Publications Board in Ireland."

People have a tendency to call artists by names they do not deserve due to the prevailing ignorance of the moment. Joyce was called many things including a genius and arrogant. If you call him a genius today it is assumed you understand what he wrote and that will make you seem pretty smart to the insecure and semi-illiterate folk who will call him unreadable or arrogant. Here are a couple of reviews or reactions and responses to Ulysses.

"Popular Answered Questions

I have tried reading this book twice but could not get past 30-40 pages. I even read Iliad and Odyssey before starting this book as the book is supposed to draw some parallel with Odyssey. Is it readable?

6 likes · like ·
one year ago ·
See all 16 answers

Rene Quezada You can and should read the Shmoop Summaries of each episode after reading the episode. Understand, and accept that you will not understand…more

Is joyce a true genius? Is he arrogant?? does he know it is difficult to follow sometimes ? i am really enjoying it so exciting so different

I do not think Joyce "invented" interior monologues, puns or invented words (see other Green Language authors like Shakespeare and Swift or even Carlyle's Sartor Restartus which was published in the century he was born). His use of mythology was derivative of Homer and other bards before and after Homer, so that tells you how much the academics who say those things do not know or want you to know about other sources of such insight and truth. Jung kept the Iliad by his bedside for 20 years because these myths and integrations of words have very deep meanings or archetypes or memes.

If you read about memes you are often going to be told they are a recent invention as well, but government social engineers have used them for the 5,000 years Joyce spoke about according to Joseph Campbell who was a fair wordsmith and Mythologist himself. Campbell struggled in his work on Joyce's books, so do not expect to suddenly get the depth of meaning. Did you understand Shakespeare at first?
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