Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake

Having an interest in learning about the history of psychiatry through biographies of famous people, I was drawn to Carol Loeb Shloss's book on the life of James Joyce's daughter Lucia Joyce. Lucia was in and out of psychiatric hospitals from her mid-twenties on and was treated by many psychiatrists including Jung. Unfortunately almost all of the documentary material about her life was destroyed, and although Shloss is an assiduous researcher, she could come up with virtually nothing about her medical records. Consequently although people seemed to agree that she needed hospital level psychiatric care, it is hard to learn much more about her psychiatric symptoms other than that she had tantrums, and lit fires. Joan Acocella has has written a thoughtful review of Shloss' book, which spells out some of the shortcomings, that I noticed as I was reading it.

1 comment:

  1. I think lucia was the real genius in the joyce family not at all phycotic. hell wouldnt you have a tantrum living with that mad lot. She needed a friend, a genuine one to understand the mind and temperment of such a creative person, all arty types are tempremental.loved the book,loved her dance,art and creativity, cant say the same about her fathers books, no one could understand them!!!!!! Study him you might be surprised at your findings.