I just finished reading The Most Dangerous Book: the Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham. I love this period of literary history and given that Ulysses often makes the top novels of all time - often at number one - this fascinating book testifies to the book's impact on the making of our modern world. ~Krista
What a masterful work. This completely absorbing, exceptionally well-executed book tells the amazing story of how James Joyce's Ulysses "transformed from an insurgency to an institution." Birmingham's book is a life history of a novel, not just its author. It weaves together social and legal history, literary criticism, and some excruciatingly detailed medical descriptions (about Joyce's eye diseases) into a wonderfully engaging, light handed narrative. It's stunning how many people Birmingham manages to include here, starting with Joyce's inspiration and life partner Nora; his literary and financial patrons; the moralizing persecutors who hounded him and the crusading publishers who took risks on him; the book smugglers and pirates who helped disseminate his novel; and the supportive judge whose decision legalized Ulysses's publication in America. Just as Joyce's admirers were awed by his achievement, as a reader I'm awed by Birmingham's deft weaving of thousands of strands into a coherent, engrossing story.
a wonderful read; i stayed up to late one evening and the next day almost missed my bus stop while i read.
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