Joyce's Words‎ > ‎

Dottyville/Edenville

Join up the dots for Paradise



U 1.127-9: That fellow I was with in the Ship last night, said Buck Mulligan, says you have g.p.i. He's up in Dottyville with Connolly Norman. General paralysis of the insane.

The popular caricaturist Phil May (1864-1903) drew a number of cartoons for Punch that refer to a lunatic asylum he called ‘Dottyville’ (dotty as a colloquial adjective for someone feeble in mind or silly was in popular use in English by the 1880s). Here is one of the most famous of May’s cartoons, dating from 1897, and showing the name 'Dottyville Lunatic Asylum' in the top of the picture:

 


LUNATIC (suddenly popping his head over wall): "What are you doing there?"
BROWN: "Fishing."
LUNATIC: "Caught anything?"
BROWN: "No."
LUNATIC: "How long have you been there?"
BROWN: "Six hours."
LUNATIC: "Come inside!"


The name stuck.  In 1905 Frank Richardson’s Secret Kingdom offered this:

"Howard, you are a great and good man, and deserve a word of praise." "Pardon me, I deserve a single ticket to Dotty-ville, Michigan." (p. 129)

        Amongst other instances, the Newbie Game Company of London had advertised in 1913 a children's game called "Brer Fox an' Brer Rabbit", containing the instruction "Any player alighting on 'Dottyville Lunatic Asylum' must wait there in accordance with instructions [...]".

        Joyce was tapping in to an established tradition when Mulligan referred to ‘Dottyville’ (the Richmond Asylum, where Con(n)olly Norman was Superintendent from 1886 until his death in 1908). Siegfried Sassoon was part of the same tradition in 1917 when he applied the nickname to Craiglockhart War Hospital, where he had been sent by the authorities as an alternative  to a court martial.

 


U 3.39-40: Hello! Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one.

Stephen Dedalus borrows another -ville from real life in the Proteus episode (and again in Oxen of the Sun at 14.398).

        Here he is using a familiar County Dublin address: Edenville, off Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock - not far from where the Joyces lived in 1892/3: Edenville was described in an 1842 advert in the Freeman's Journal of 25 May as a group of houses:

    [...] situate in the upper part of Merrion Avenue, near Booterstown Church, known as 'Edenville', in     a highly improved, respectable, and healthful neighbourhood [...]

        Thom's Directory lists it as a separate address in 1884, though not in 1894 or 1904. Newspaper ads refer to Edenville at least until 1902.

 Harald Beck


Search by keyword (within this site)