James Augustus Aloysius Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882, to a fairly poor, middle-class family, and was educated at two Jesuit schools, Clongowes Wood College in Kildare and Belvedere College in Dublin. He later thanked the Jesuits for teaching him to think straight, although he rejected their religious instruction. After graduating in 1902 he travelled to Paris, where he worked as a journalist, teacher and various other occupations. After a year, he returned to Ireland where his mother was dying. Soon after her death Joyce left Dublin with Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid (they eventually married in 1931), staying in Pola, Austria and Trieste. Their years in Trieste were poverty-stricken, but productive, and they both loved the city where they lived at a number of different addresses. Novels include: Dubliners A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Ulysses Finnegans Wake
Dubliners, about Joyce’s native city, is faithful to his country, seeing it unflinchingly and challenging every precedent and piety in Irish literature. The stories in Dubliners show us truants, seducers, hostesses, corrupt politicians, failing priests, struggling musicians, poets, patriots, and many more simply striving to get by.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man falls between the realism of Dubliners and the symbolism of Ulysses. The novel is a highly autobiographical account of the youth of Stephen Dedalus, who comes to realize that before he can become a true artist, he must rid himself of the stultifying effects of the religion, politics and essential bigotry of his life in late 19th century Ireland. Written with a light touch, it is perhaps the most accessible of Joyce's works.
Ulysses is James Joyce's astonishing masterpiece. Scandalously frank, it tells of the events which befall Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus in Dublin on 16 June 1904, during which Bloom's voluptuous wife, Molly, commits adultery. Initially deemed obscene in England and the USA, this richly-allusive novel, revolutionary in its modernistic experimentalism, was hailed as a work of genius by W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway.
Finnegans Wake is the book of Here Comes Everybody and Anna Livia Plurabelle and their family – their book, but in a curious way the book of us all as well as all our books. Joyce's last great work, it is not comprised of many borrowed styles, like Ulysses, but, rather, formulated as one dense, tongue-twisting soundscape. It also remains the most hilarious, ‘obscene’, book of innuendos ever to be imagined.