Conolly Norman

Conolly Norman

In Brief

The physician whom Mulligan mentions in connection with the Richmond Lunatic Asylum, "Conolly Norman," was a prominent Irish "alienist," or psychiatrist, who supervised several such institutions in the later 19th century. The spelling used in Hans Walter Gabler's edition, "Connolly Norman," is incorrect.

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Born in 1853 near Derry in County Donegal, Norman studied medicine at Trinity College, Dublin from 1870 to 1874. He worked at the Monaghan District Lunatic Asylum after receiving his degree, and then took a job at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London (the famous "Bedlam") in 1880. In 1882 he returned to Ireland to become Resident Medical Superintendent at the Castlebar District Lunatic Asylum in County Mayo, and in 1885 he resigned that job to take the same position at the Monaghan asylum. In 1886 he was made Resident Medical Superintendent of the Richmond asylum, the largest and most important in Ireland, and remained in that job until his death in 1908. He is credited with improving primitive conditions at the Richmond asylum.

Norman's given name is spelled with one "n" in various medical articles and transcribed lectures, as well as in obituaries published upon his death. Every printed text of Telemachus before the 1980s, starting with The Little Review version published in 1918, reflects this widely recognized spelling of his name. It is bizarre, then, that Gabler, apparently preferring Joyce's handwritten version in the Rosenbach manuscript to all other evidence, adds a second "n." This change was one of many deplored in "The Scandal of Ulysses," John Kidd's 1988 attack on the new edition in The New York Review of Books.

JH 2022
Oil portrait of Conolly Norman by Irish painter Sarah Cecilia Harrison, held in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. Source: Wikimedia Commons.