“Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.”
On June 16, 1904, Leopold Bloom started his day at No. 7 Eccles Street in Dublin, Ireland with kidneys on his mind. Indeed, his first errand of the day was a trip around the corner to Dlugacz’s for a pork kidney which he found oozing "bloodgouts" on a dish in the window. So began the day that James Joyce immortalized in Ulysses. The novel was banned in the United States until Judge John M. Woolsey decreed that it could be admitted into the country in United States v. One Book Called "Ulysses", 5 F. Supp. 182 (S.D. N.Y. 1933). Judges (and cousins) Augustus and Learned Hand subsequently affirmed Judge Woolsey's ruling over the dissent of Judge Martin Manton ("Its characterization as obscene should be quite unanimous by all who read it."). 72 F.2d 705. 709 (2d Cir. 1934).
The book is a difficult read - Chief Justice Donald Wright of the California Supreme Court called it "soporific". Bloom v. Municipal Court for Inglewood Judicial Dist., 16 Cal. 3d 71, 85, 545 P.2d 229, 238, 127 Cal. Rptr. 317, 326 (1976). However, Ulysses is much more than a challenging read. It is the story of a son looking for a father, a father looking for a son, death in the midst of life, the loss of a son and the birth of a son, a kind and curious man assaulted by antisemitism, infidelity and hope for intimacy, and, yes, coming home.