The Editors of 'The Little Review' Are Fined For Obscenity

In June 1919, the United States Post Office determined that The Little Review was in violation of Postal Laws and Regulations, due primarily to the obscene content of Joyce's work, and refused to distribute certain issues of the magazine through the mail. But, Joyce continued to send his writing and The Little Review continued to publish it. By this time, Pound was already editing the content of Joyce's writing, without his permission or knowledge. In 1920 Joyce complained in a letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver that many passages are omitted and hopelessly mixed. Due to the court case in 1921, The Little Review was forced to stop the serialization of Ulysses. A U.S. book deal for Ulysses would be impossible. In 1919, Weaver's The Egoist magazine in London had serialized five episodes, but couldn't find a printer to take on the entire work.

The Little Review began to serially publish Ulysses, James Joyce’s extremely controversial novel, in 1918. The editors were charged with obscenity and, after a drawn-out legal battle with the United States Post Office, convicted and fined in 1921. The trial took a financial and emotional toll on the women. They published issues of the Little Review more and more irregularly and their relationship eventually began to fall apart. With the tenth anniversary of the magazine in 1924, Anderson suggested they cease publication. Heap decided to continue the journal without Anderson’s co-editorship, and shifted the magazine’s focus to the visual arts by including more work by painters and sculptors, especially those associated with Dadaism, Surrealism, and other modern art movements.