Ulysses vs. Apple… well, almost.

Bloomsday is an annual day of celebration in Dublin that commemorates the life of James Joyce. Participants relive the events of Leopold Bloom’s odyssey around Dublin over the course of a day. Bloom is the protagonist in Joyce’s most famous novel, Ulysses, often considered the classic of 20th Century literature.

And while the Irish (and large numbers of other literary admirers) revel in Ulysses’ history, many others are haggling over its present. Throwaway Horse, who has been adapting Ulysses into an online comic book called Ulysses Seen, made it available for free as an app for the iPad. Apple impose a ban on nudity for iPad apps and accordingly asked Throwaway to edit a couple of scenes of incidental nudity – basically some breasts and a penis (not on the same person). Pretty harmless stuff that isn’t really going to harm minors (not that anyone under 18 is likely to plow through Ulysses anyway). A minor furor ensued. Apple changed its mind, deciding that a ‘case specific’ approach to the ban was a smarter way to go, thus ensuring ‘artistic growth’ is protected on their technology (unless it involves an Adobe Flash Player, of course).

It was all cleared up in time for Bloomsday, which was fortunate, so everyone could hug and get on with it.

The Guardian published a good summation of events, with lots of handy links.

Bit of a storm in a tea-cup as Apple quickly corrected a silly procedural decision meaning Throwaway was only ‘shocked’ for a few days. The result we like to focus on is the attention it has brought to the Ulysses Seen project, an excellent adaption of a seminal work that presents a guilt free method of entering the wonderful world of Joyce.


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