Lucia Joyce: To Dance In The Wake

Lucia Joyce: To Dance In The Wake

Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake

“Whatever spark or gift I possess has been transmitted to Lucia and it has kindled a fire in her brain.” —James Joyce, 1934

Most accounts of James Joyce’s family portray Lucia Joyce as the mad daughter of a man of genius, a difficult burden. But in this important new book, Carol Loeb Shloss reveals a different, more dramatic truth: her father loved Lucia, and they shared a deep creative bond.

Lucia was born in a pauper’s hospital and educated haphazardly across Europe as her penniless father pursued his art. She wanted to strike out on her own and in her twenties emerged, to Joyce’s amazement, as a harbinger of expressive modern dance in Paris. He described her then as a wild, beautiful, “fantastic being” whose mind was “as clear and as unsparing as the lightning.” The family’s only reader of Joyce, she was a child of the imaginative realms her father created, and even after emotional turmoil wrought havoc with her and she was hospitalized in the 1930s, he saw in her a life lived in tandem with his own.

Though most of the documents about Lucia have been destroyed, Shloss painstakingly reconstructs the poignant...

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