James Joyce Biography & Facts
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde movement and is regarded as one of the most influential and important writers of the 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles, most famously stream of consciousness. Other well-known works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, his published letters and occasional journalism.
Joyce was born in Dublin into a middle-class family. A brilliant student, he briefly attended the Christian Brothers-run O'Connell School before excelling at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, despite the chaotic family life imposed by his father's unpredictable finances. He went on to attend University College Dublin.
In 1904, in his early 20s, Joyce emigrated to continental Europe with his partner (and later wife) Nora Barnacle. They lived in Trieste, Paris, and Zürich. Although most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe centres on Dublin and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies, and friends from his time there. Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses, he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, "For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal."
On 2 February 1882, Joyce was born at 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, Dublin, Ireland. Joyce's father was John Stanislaus Joyce and his mother was Mary Jane "May" (née Murray). He was the eldest of 10 surviving siblings; two died of typhoid. James was baptised according to the rites of the Catholic Church in the nearby St Joseph's Church in Terenure on 5 February 1882 by Rev. John O'Mulloy. Joyce's godparents were Philip and Ellen McCann.
John Stanislaus Joyce's family came from Fermoy in County Cork; they had owned a small salt and lime works. Joyce's paternal grandfather, James Augustine Joyce, married Ellen O'Connell, daughter of John O'Connell, a Cork alderman who owned a drapery business and other properties in Cork City. Ellen's family claimed kinship with Daniel O'Connell, "The Liberator". The Joyce family's purported ancestor, Seán Mór Seoighe (fl. 1680) was a stonemason from Connemara.
In 1887, his father was appointed rate collector by Dublin Corporation; the family subsequently moved to the fashionable adjacent small town of Bray, 12 miles (19 km) from Dublin. Around this time, Joyce was attacked by a dog, leading to his lifelong cynophobia. He suffered from astraphobia; a superstitious aunt had described thunderstorms as a sign of God's wrath.In 1891, Joyce wrote a poem on the death of Charles Stewart Parnell. His father was angry at the treatment of Parnell by the Catholic Church, the Irish Home Rule Party, and the British Liberal Party and the resulting collaborative failure to secure Home Rule for Ireland. The Irish Party had dropped Parnell from leadership, but the Vatican's role in allying with the British Conservative Party to prevent home rule left a lasting impression on the young Joyce. The elder Joyce had the poem printed and even sent a part to the Vatican Library. In November, John Joyce was entered in Stubbs' Gazette (a publisher of bankruptcies) and suspended from work. In 1893, John Joyce was dismissed with a pension, beginning the family's slide into poverty caused mainly by his drinking and financial mismanagement.Joyce had begun his education at Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school near Clane, County Kildare, in 1888, but had to leave in 1892 when his father could no longer pay the fees. Joyce then studied at home and briefly at the Christian Brothers O'Connell School on North Richmond Street, Dublin, before he was offered a place in the Jesuits' Dublin school, Belvedere College, in 1893. This came about because of a chance meeting his father had with a Jesuit priest called John Conmee, who knew the family, and Joyce was given a reduction in fees to attend Belvedere. In 1895, Joyce, now aged 13, was elected to join the Sodality of Our Lady by his peers at Belvedere. The philosophy of Thomas Aquinas continued to have a strong influence on him for most of his life.
Joyce enrolled at the recently established University College Dublin (UCD) in 1898, studying English, French, and Italian. He became active in theatrical and literary circles in the city. In 1900, his laudatory review of Henrik Ibsen's When We Dead Awaken was published in The Fortnightly Review; it was his first publication, and after learning basic Norwegian to send a fan letter to Ibsen, he received a letter of thanks from the dramatist. Joyce wrote a number of other articles and at least two plays (since lost) during this period. Many of the friends he made at UCD appeared as characters in Joyce's works. His closest colleagues included leading figures of the generation, most notably, Tom Kettle, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, and Oliver St. John Gogarty. Joyce was first introduced to the Irish public by Arthur Griffith in his newspaper, United Irishman, in November 1901. Joyce had written an article on the Irish Literary Theatre, and his college magazine refused to print it. Joyce had it printed and distributed locally. Griffith himself wrote a piece decrying the censorship of the student James Joyce. In 1901, the National Census of Ireland lists James Joyce (19) as an English- and Irish-speaking scholar living with his mother and father, six sisters, and three brothers at Royal Terrace (now Inverness Road), Clontarf, Dublin.After graduating from UCD in 1902, Joyce left for Paris to study medicine, but he soon abandoned this. Joyce’s biographer, Richard Ellmann, suggests that this may have been because he found the technical lectures in French too difficult. Joyce had already failed to pass chemistry in English in Dublin, claiming ill health as the problem and wrote home that he was unwell and complained about the cold weather. He stayed on for a few months, appealing for money his family could ill-afford and reading late in the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, his father sent a telegram that read, "NOTHER [sic] DYING COME HOME FATHER". Joyce returned to Ireland. Fearing for her son's impiety, his mother tried unsuccessfully to get Joyce to make his confession and to take communion. She finally passed into a coma and died on 13 August, James and his brother Stanislaus having refused to kneel with other members of the .... Discover the James Joyce popular books. Find the top 100 most popular James Joyce books.