Sunday 19 November 2017

Ulick O'Connor: Real-life 'Ulysses' character who caused a literary stir

Ulick O'Connor recalls his first contact with the Joyce industry and a landmark legal case

THE copyright on James Joyce's Ulysses has expired. This means that the most famous book in the English language of the 20th Century can now be published without permission from the Joyce estate.

The rights had been administered by Joyce's son, Giorgio, until his death in 1976 when it passed into the hands of Giorgio's son, whom it was felt by some did not do his grandfather any favours by his handling of the estate.

One day in the Law Library in Dublin, when I was practising as a young barrister, I got a call from Reuben Dodd, a solicitor by profession, who asked me would I undertake a libel case he was involved in. I told him he would have to get a solicitor and then I would see what I could do. When we met with Jim Cawley, solicitor, at his office, I learnt that the client was upset about a broadcast on the BBC which had contained reference to him. Apparently he had been listening to the radio trying to get the racing results when to his astonishment he heard his own name referred to in a scurrilous context

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