James Joyce

One of the greatest figures in modernist literature, Irish author James Joyce (1882-1941) used the avant-garde “stream of consciousness” method in such great literary works as Ulysses (1922), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), and Finnegan’s Wake (1939). Less known is that from his mid-20s on, Joyce also suffered grievously from eye disease and other ailments, the cause of which may have been either syphilis or some form of inflammatory rheumatic arthritis. An ongoing debate continues as scholars investigate Joyce’s medical history and pick apart Ulysses for references to venereal disease.

Featuring medical and health books from the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, plus works by and about Joyce from Mervyn H. Sterne Library, a new exhibit on the first floor of Sterne explores the medical case of James Joyce, the moral and public health concerns over syphilis during his time, and how these are reflected in his monumental work, Ulysses.

For more information on this display, contact Peggy Balch at pbalch@uab.edu or 205-934-4475, or Kelly Schiff at kschiff@uab.edu or 205-934-6357.