On this day…27 December

On 27 December 1928 a New York court prohibited Roth from using Joyce’s name.

Joyce’s American lawyers had been pursuing their case against Samuel Roth for pirating Ulysses in the United States, and finally succeeded in obtaining an injunction banning Roth from using Joyce’s name.

Despite the ‘International Protest against the Unauthorised and Mutilated Edition of Ulysses in the USA,’ signed by over 160 literary figures and published on Joyce’s birthday in 1927, Samuel Roth had continued his piracy with apparent impunity. In fact it was not until October 1927 that Roth finally suspended the publication of parts of Ulysses in his Two Worlds Monthly magazine.

However, Joyce’s lawyers had been working to prevent Roth from continuing to pirate Ulysses and focused on preventing Roth from using Joyce’s name. On 10 January 1928 Roth had given his deposition to the New York court, and this was followed on 8 March by Joyce’s deposition. The Supreme Court of the State of New York finally issued its injunction on 27 December 1928.

Justice Richard H Mitchell prohibited Samuel Roth and his Two Worlds Publishing Company from ‘publishing, printing, stating or advertising’ Joyce’s name in any publication, or in connection with ‘any book, writing, manuscript of other work’ of James Joyce, or otherwise disseminating Joyce’s name in connection with any work, including Ulysses, in any issue of Two Worlds Monthly or Two Worlds Quarterly, or any other magazine.


Sources & Further Reading:

Ellmann, Richard: James Joyce – new and revised edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Joyce, James: Letters of James Joyce, vol. III edited by Richard Ellmann, London: Faber & Faber, 1966.

Norburn, Roger: A James Joyce Chronology, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.