James Joyce really is dirty and scandalous. His books stink of flesh, ordure, and bodily fluids. They are steeped in forbidden thoughts and dishonorable desires, in secrets, blasphemy, and sex. They were not made to become holy relics. Censorship and opprobrium may have been a cruel fate for the living Joyce, but elevation to sainthood after his death is not necessarily a better one.
Fintan O’Toole, Joyce: Heroic, Comic
Photo: James Joyce, Paris, 1934 (Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)