This article is to share our thought that James Joyce used
syphilis as a major theme in his classic work, Ulysses.1
This should be of particular interest to physicians because
it is an example of an artist using a well-defined disease
process to describe brilliantly his conception of a society.
Because of Joyce's technique of interweaving many
themes, syphilis is so interwoven with other ideas that for
the sake of clarity we will limit our arguments to five main
points, leaving to the reader the pleasure of ferreting out
the many more subtle allusions and devices that buttress
these main arguments. To enable the reader to do so, we
have added a Table of references to syphilis and its
symptoms made in the novel. We mention only in passing
that Joyce had venereal disease and not only knew it but
also wrote letters to his friend Oliver Gogarty about it;
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