On this day…10 December

On 10 December 1907 Gogarty invited Joyce to Vienna.

Gogarty had gone to Vienna to continue his medical studies, and while there he wrote to Joyce suggesting that he should come and visit, or even come to Vienna to live.

Gogarty had completed his final medical exams at Trinity College in June 1907, ten years after starting to study medicine at University College Dublin’s Medical School on Cecilia Street. Gogarty aimed at becoming an ear, nose and throat specialist, and decided to go to Vienna to gain some experience. After that he planned to spend some time in London hospitals before returning to Dublin.

At the time, Vienna was the world’s most prestigious medical centre and Gogarty studied under some of the best in the field, including otologist Róbert Bárány, Gustav Alexander, Head of Otology at the Vienna Polyclinic, and laryngologists Marcus Hajek and Ottaker Chiari, both of whom were Professors at the University of Vienna. Even the rooms that Gogarty lived in had belonged to the renowned psychiatrist, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, author of the Psychopathia Sexualis.

Joyce had been suffering from rheumatic fever and Gogarty had sent him some money which, however, was appropriated by one of the Joyce family as the letter passed through the Dublin household on its way to Joyce in Trieste. Gogarty then wrote to invite Joyce to come to Vienna on a visit, and suggested that Joyce might come and live in Vienna. Gogarty, who didn’t speak any German, found it hard to get by in Vienna, and he suggested that Joyce could make money teaching German to English-speaking medical students in the city.

Joyce gave Gogarty’s offer some consideration before he decided to turn it down, but he did offer to help get some of Gogarty’s bawdy verse published. As he was leaving Vienna to spend New Year in Dresden, Gogarty wrote to Joyce again, joking about a future ‘National Joyce Museum’ in Cabra, and thanking him for his offer of help with a collection of bawdy verse that Gogarty intended to call Cockcrows, but which, in the end, came to nothing.

At the end of January 1908, Gogarty returned from Dresden to Vienna where he had a research appointment that was to keep him busy until March. After that, he returned to Dublin to establish a practice there. He and Joyce met again during Joyce’s visit to Dublin in 1909.


Sources & Further Reading:

Ellmann, Richard: James Joyce – new and revised edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Lyons, JB: Oliver St John Gogarty – The Man of Many Talents, Dublin: Blackwater Press, 1980.