Carole Seymour-Jones

A ‘Wonder Wild’

Lucia Joyce: To Dance In The Wake


Bloomsbury 560pp £20 order from our bookshop

WHEN LUCIA JOYCE. only daughter of James Joyce, threw a chair at her mother, Nora, during her father’s fiftieth birthday party in Paris in February 1932, she took the first step in her own ‘dance of death’. Her brother Giorgio committed her to a maison de santi. Released, she found a new outlet for her rage and jealousy, cutting the telephone wires of the family flat as Joyce’s friends called to congratulate him on winning the American obscenity case against Ulysses, a verdict that allowed the book to be published in the USA. In August 1934, after seven months’ incarceration in an asylum, Lucia greeted her parents by setting fire to the tablecloth in her confinement room. The ‘Prankquean’, one of the characters in her father’s work Lucia seemed to personify, had leapt from her liminal position in the Joyce family into the foreground. Henceforth Lucia would dance as ‘Milly, Issy, the Rainbow Girl, the child before the cracked looking-glass not of schizophrenia but of her father’s art’, contributing to the creative dynamic between the author of Finnegans Wake and his ‘daughter-wife’, for whose broken life the Wake was Joyce’s own act of atonement.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,