Ann-Marie Priest reviews 'The Joyce Girl' by Annabel Abbs

Ann-Marie Priest reviews 'The Joyce Girl' by Annabel Abbs

The Joyce Girl

by Annabel Abbs

Hachette $32.99 pb, 358 pp, 9780733636974

In 1934, Lucia Joyce, then in her late twenties, entered analysis with Carl Jung, at the behest of her father, James Joyce. She had been in and out of psychiatric care for several years, but it was still not clear exactly what was wrong with her – if anything. A few years earlier, as a dancer in the Isadora Duncan style, she had been thought to have a genius akin to her father’s. Her biographer, Carol Loeb Shloss, considers that the arts of father and daughter were connected: that Lucia embodied the fluid self Joyce so painstakingly constructed in his fiction. Yet here was Joyce handing his beloved daughter over to a man who was openly hostile to Joyce’s literary experiments, which he saw as an attack on sanity.

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Ann-Marie Priest

Ann-Marie Priest

Ann-Marie Priest is a literary scholar and the author of Great Writers, Great Loves: The Reinvention of Love in the Twentieth Century (2006). In 2004 she won the Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize for a short essay, and her work has twice appeared in Best Australian Essays. She teaches academic writing at Central Queensland University.

Published in December 2016, no. 387

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