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April 1981

Symbol Hunting in James Joyce's 'Syphilizations'

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(5):691-692. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340050137037

To the Editor.  —We have enjoyed reading the interesting article, "Syphilis as a Major Theme of James Joyce's Ulysses," by Hall and Waisbren, which appeared in the July Archives (1980;140:963-965).With the nature of chronicity like diabetes mellitus or tuberculosis, syphilis may involve many organs or tissues of the body. Therefore, the disease may cause a variety of symptoms and signs as the clinical manifestations. The authors have been able to take this advantage by showing 75 syphilitic symptoms in the novel and to make the theme as the title intended, although Ulysses is far too complex a work to pigeonhole it in this way.We believe that the authors have overstated their case by their way of going about interpreting a work of literature. We are referring to their induction and obsession with the letter s. This is a fallacy of non sequiturs.1(p171) We have serious reservations about

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