A comic book adaptation of James Joyce’s notoriously challenging epic Ulysses is now available on the App Store, but only after Apple demanded cuts.
Rob Berry and Josh Levitas launched the ambitious webcomic version of the classic novel, one of the most important works of Modernist literature, earlier this year under the title Ulysses Seen. The comic includes only cartoon nudity, which the pair had to remove before Apple would approve the app.
“Apple has strict guidelines and a rating system to prevent ‘adult content.’ Their highest mature content rating is 17+, which doesn’t seem to be a problem since no one reads Ulysses at sixteen anyway. But their guidelines also mean no nudity whatsoever. Which is something we never planned for,” Berry told Robot 6.
Joyce’s novel is pretty explicit in its language and themes, so much so that in 1932 it won one of the most important court decisions about censorship in American history,” Berry continued. In 1920 after the magazine The Little Review serialized a passage from Ulysses dealing with the main character masturbating, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice helped get the book banned in the U.S. for more than 10 years. Eventually, following United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, U.S. District Judge John M. Woolsey ruled in 1933 that the book was not pornographic and therefore could not be obscene, with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the ruling in 1934.
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