Thursday, July 31, 2014

Posthumous diagnosis …

… [Perspective] | On Joyce and Syphilis, by Kevin Birmingham | Harper's Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… the most telling fact is that Galyl was the only injectable compound of “arsenic and phosphorus” around. Various pharmacopoeias, national formularies, and pharmaceutical dispensaries of the 1910s and ’20s all indicate the same thing — no other medication fits Joyce’s description, nor could he have received separate injections of arsenic and phosphorus because both elements are highly toxic — probably lethal — even in relatively small doses. The unavoidable conclusion is that Joyce’s doctors gave their sickly patient Galyl in 1928. James Joyce was treated for syphilis.

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