Dr Horne

Dr Horne

In Brief

At the time represented in the novel Dr. Andrew John Horne was one of two Masters, or physician directors, of the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street. Horne served as Master of the hospital for nearly 30 years, from 1894 until his death in 1924. Joyce goes out of his way to suggest the capable and charitable offices of the good doctor, but it seems that his warm feeling was not reciprocated.

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In Lestrygonians Josie Breen tells Bloom that Mina Purefoy is in the hospital because "Dr Horne got her in," consistent with the mission of Dublin's maternity hospitals to help all women in need. Oxen mentions his proprietorship: "Of that house A. Horne is lord. Seventy beds keeps he there." Later, the chapter very exactly identifies "the National Maternity Hospital, 29, 30 and 31 Holles street, of which, as is well known, Dr A. Horne (Lic. in Midw., F. K. Q. C. P. I.) is the able and popular master." The anagrammatic titles, which Joyce has such fun with in Aeolus and Cyclops, here seem more respectful, signifying that Horne was Licensed in Midwifery and was Former Knight of the Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland. 

Andrew Horne was born in County Galway in 1856, attended Clongowes Wood College for five years, studied medicine at the Carmichael School of Medicine in Dublin, was licensed by the Royal College of Surgeons in 1877, specialized in obstetrics while working at St. Vincent's and the Mater hospitals, became the assistant Master at the Rotunda Hospital on Rutland (now Parnell) Square, moved to the new NMH in Holles Street as Joint Master in 1894, and later was appointed sole Master. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 1881, served as its Vice President from 1894 to 1896 and as President from 1908 to 1910, and was knighted by King Edward in 1913. (The RCPI acquired its present title in 1890. Before that, it was known as the King and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland, as the initials in Oxen indicate.)

Fully 17 times, Oxen of the Sun links the name of this accomplished obstetrician with the hospital in which he served, turning a national institution into a personal domain: "Horne's house," "Horne's Hall," "the house of Horne," "the high hall of Horne's house," "Horne's." It appears, however, that the admiration that Joyce felt for Doctor Horne did not run in the reverse direction. According to a 14 June 2013 post by Harriet Wheelock on the RCPI Heritage Centre Blog site, Horne never had a copy of Ulysses in his house, and Horne's family recalls that he "turned Joyce out of the Maternity Hospital in 1904, when Joyce was a student, for an offensive remark about 'the poor breeding like rabbits.'" The truth of the remark, Wheelock notes, has not been authenticated.

JH 2018
Photographic portrait of Dr. Horne in his ceremonial garb as President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Source: Harriet Wheelock, "Sir Andrew John Horne," a publication of the RCPI (April 2012).