The Joyces

Two books have been added to my wishlist in recent days; the Gordon Bowker biography of Joyce and Dotter of her Father’s Eyes, a graphic novel about Joyce’s daughter Lucia by Mary M Talbot and Bryan Talbot. While I have read a bit of Joyce (I’ve never finished Ulysses and have never attempted Finnegan’s Wake, but I love Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist) I don’t know much about his life and Bowker’s recent biography seems like a good place to start, as it is supposedly meticulously researched and very well written.

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes is another proposition entirely. Less straightforward biography, the graphic novel contrasts two stories, that of Lucia Joyce and that of author Mary Talbot, daughter of Joycean scholar James S. Atherton. Lucia Joyce was an ambitious and obsessive young woman who desperately wanted to be a dancer. In her 20s she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent the majority of her life in psychiatric institutions, thus cutting short any dancing career and also any chance at a romantic relationship.

Both books provide an insight into the greatest name in Irish literature and I’m looking forward to reading them. I’ll hopefully be a bit more educated about Joyce and his life by the time Bloomsday rolls around this year.

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