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J Med Biogr. 2010 Feb;18(1):57-60. doi: 10.1258/jmb.2009.009064.

Uveitic secondary glaucoma: influence in James Joyce's (1882-1941) last works.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University Clinic Hospital, San Juan Bosco Avenue 15, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain. jascaso@gmail.com


James Joyce, considered one of the pre-eminent novelists of the 20th century, attained international renown with his work Ulysses. Its lack of standard punctuation makes it difficult to read. An example would be the famous non-punctuated 'Molly Bloom soliloquy' in the last chapter of Ulysses. Why is Joyce considered so difficult to read? He wrote and proofread Ulysses and Finnegans wake, his last works, during his battle against glaucoma, when his vision was seriously blurred. The distracting and confusing diacritical marks might be explained by Joyce's reduced visual acuity. Could Ulysses and Finnegans wake have been different if Joyce's visual problems had begun in the second rather than the first half of 20th century?

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