Lucia Joyce, schizophrenia and Carl Jung

“…they were yung and easily freudened…
James Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake

[Lucia and her father were]
“like two people going to the bottom of a river, one falling and the other diving.”
Interview with Carl Jung, Richard Ellmann

The daughter of James Joyce, Lucia Joyce, was seen by Jung in 1934. She had been showing signs of mental illness since her late teens and early twenties. Joyce delayed for a number of years in seeking treatment for her. Jung diagnosed her as schizophrenic, and she was committed to the Burghölzi Hospital in Zurich.
The failure of recognize schizophrenia in its early stages is reminiscent of another tragic case mentioned earlier, that of Jared Loughner. In spite of the substantial world-wide incidence of schizophrenia (estimated to be between .5% and 1%), there is considerable societal ignorance about it, coupled with limited recognition and limited resources for treatment.


Deidre Barr: Jung, A Biography

Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake

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3 Responses to Lucia Joyce, schizophrenia and Carl Jung

  1. My version is totally different, I think that Lucia was just an hysteric person who was transformed in a schizophrenic one by the psychiatric system. At that time there is no mention of any psychiatric treatment able to cure schizophrenia (1932). Jung was the only one who could be able to treat Lucia Joyce. It is a matter of fact that James Joyce was claiming she was a clayrvoiant, and in 1952 Jung wrote the book on syncronicity in which he admit “telepatia” as a form of psychic manifestation. I’m not here to defend telepatia, I think it is a manifestation of hysteria, but James was right in defending Lucia from psychiatric treatment, he died to early and loosed the battle. Lucia was in Asylum from 1936 ane 1982, 46 years of internation! Do you want to argue that if she would have been secluded in february 1932 (when Giorgio was bringing her for the first time to a psychiatric unit, the day in which James was coming 50!). Would have been different? Probably she had 4 years more of internation. Anyway Jung was the only one good for Lucia, then unespectedly he quit the case…

  2. The alcoholic family destroyed Lucia Joyce. Today she would have gone to an Al anon meeting.

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