On Tue, 26 Jun 2012 11:26:22 -0500, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I'm ignorant of the chronology here. Was this book published before or after
>it became generally known that Joyce's blindness was caused by syphilis?
The book was posthumously published in the US and UK in 1958
(with a small 1957 pre-release). I read that it only covered
Joyce until he was 21.
On Joyce's eye problems -- he had trouble all his life.
A simply laid out webpage with a chronology is at
You should be able to read it easily Carrol.
There is a PDF file at
In the convivial, bibulous atmosphere of Dublin, so well
portrayed in the drinking scenes in Ulysses, Joyce took to
alcohol with enthusiasm. His consorting with prostitutes
resulted in several episodes of venereal disease. Joyce
always feared syphilis.3
Syphilis – ‘the great imitator’ – can cause urethritis,
iritis, conjunctivitis, arthritis and, occasionally, peptic
ulcers. Dr JB Lyons, an authority on Joyce’s medical problems,
did not believe that he had syphilis.7 Joyce had an episode
described as rheumatic fever in Trieste following a night
spent in the gutter after drinking. Aching joints were
prominent among his litany of complaints. His bent-over
posture, said to resemble a question mark, occurs with
ankylosing spondylitis. A more likely explanation for
Joyce’s eye and joint problems is a sero-negative arthritis8
such as Reiter syndrome.9
7. Lyons JB. James Joyce’s miltonic affliction.
Irish J Med Sc 1968;1:157–65.
8. Quin D. James Joyce: seronegative arthropathy or syphilis?
Journal of the History of Medicine 1991;46:86–8.
9. Paton A. James Joyce – a case history. BMJ 1975;636–7.
>From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
>Of Rickard Parker
>Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 8:33 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: How Eliot saw his letters.
>Not about letters but related. Here is Eliot in his preface to
>Stanislaus Joyce's biography of his brother, "My Brother�s
>Keeper: James Joyce�s Early Years":
> Curiosity about the private life of a public man may
> be of three kinds: the useful, the harmless, and the
> impertinent. It is useful, when the subject is a
> statesman, if the study of his private life contributes
> to the understanding of his public actions; it is
> useful, when the subject is a man of letters, if the
> study throws light upon his published works. The line
> between curiosity which is legitimate and that which is
> merely harmless and that which is vulgarly impertinent,
> can never be precisely drawn. In the case of a writer,
> the usefulness of biographical information, for
> increasing and making possible a keener enjoyment or a
> more critical valuation, will vary according to the
> type of which the writer is representative, and the way
> in which he has exploited his own experience in his
> books. It is difficult to believe that greater
> knowledge about the private life of Shakespeare could
> much modify our judgment or enhance our enjoyment of
> his plays; no theory about the origin or mode of
> composition of the Homeric poems could alter our
> appreciation of them as poetry. With a writer like
> Goethe, on the other hand, our interest in the man is
> inseparable from our interest in the work; and we are
> impelled to supplement and correct what he tells us in
> various ways about himself, with information from
> outside sources; the more we know about the man, the
> better, we think, we may come to understand his poetry
> and his prose.
> In the case of James Joyce we have a series of
> books, two of which at least as so autobiographical
> in appearance that further study of the man and his
> background seems not only suggested by our own
> inquisitiveness, but almost expected by the author
> himself. We want to know who are the originals of his
> characters, and what were the origins of his episodes,
> so that we may unravel the web of memory and invention
> and discover how far and in what ways the crude
> material has been transformed. Our interest extends,
> therefore, inevitably and justifiably, to Joyce�s
> family, to his friends, to every detail of the
> topography and life of Dublin, the Dublin of his
> childhood, adolescence and young manhood.
> Rick Parker