James Joyce Probably Had Syphilis

    DUBLIN, IRELAND:  An undated photo of Irishman James Joyce, author of one of Dublin's most famous literary masterpieces 'Ulysses'.  Dublin is hosting a world-class, five-month long festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Joyce's book.  On 16 June 1904, now known as "Bloomsday",  Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus each took their epic journeys through Dubln.    (Photo credit should read FRAN CAFFREY/AFP/Getty Images)

    Fran Caffrey/AFP/Getty

    You may never read Ulysses the same way again. A Harvard author’s new history of James Joyce’s famous novel claims the author was going blind because he was suffering from syphilis. “I deserve all this on account of my many iniquities,” Joyce wrote of his failing eyesight in 1931. Abscesses in his mouth, a boil on his shoulder, and a disabled right arm were all symptoms of syphilis, Kevin Birmingham writes. The disease had a profound effect on the author: He references it at least twice in Ulysses and essentially blames it for the death of a priest in his story The Sisters.

    Read it at The Guardian