Top Left, James Joyce-age 2 Top Right-John Joyce-James' Father Bottom- Clongowes Wood College 1888(James Joyce, center of photo sitting in grass)
Life and Times of James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in a wealthy suburb of Ireland just south of Dublin on February 2, 1882
The Joyce family was considered of the upper class and had blood lines that could be traced back to old Irish nobility in the country.
James Joyce,Age 2 John Joyce(James' Father) Clongowes Wood College, 1888. The class of the Elements. Joyce is front center, on the grass. Dublin, September 1888. The Joyce family. From left to right: Maternal Grandfather John Murray, young James, Mother Mary Jane and Father John Joyce. Taken on the day James entered Clongowes Wood College. Photos
After completion at Clongowes Joyce went on to Belvedere, which was located in Dublin. He then enrolled in Royal University, or as it is better known, University College to complete his education.
At the age of twenty Joyce left Ireland and went to study medicine in Paris, France. He did not return to Ireland until the next year when he received word that his Mother was dying. After burying his mother, Mary Jane (May) Murray Joyce, he began teaching in Ireland at a boy's school. Less than a year later, Joyce left Ireland again and eventually settled in Zurich.
Paris, 1902. Joyce sent this photo-postcard to his friend J.F. Byrne. His stay in Paris was cut short by the famous telegram: MOTHER DYING COME HOME FATHER. (From the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University)
During this time Joyce met Nora Barnacle, who he eventually had two children with, although they did not marry until much later.
The writer relied on the support of his brother for financial assistance and emotional support throughout his entire life. James Joyce's brother, Stanislaus Joyce. (From the Web site "In Bloom,")
Joyce later placed himself in exile from Ireland and began to write Ulysses while living in Paris. He continued to live in France until the outbreak of World War II when he and his family were allowed to move to Switzerland.
James Joyce died of a stomach ulcer in 1941, after having survived several eye surgeries that hindered his sight greatly. He was buried in Zurich at their Fluntern Cemetery.
Due to the failure of Joyce's last book, Finnegans Wake, his prestige had faltered at the time of his death and it was not until the decades after his death that James Joyce was recognized as a forbearer in Modernism who had written arguably the best book of the twentieth century.
Dubliners was the title of James Joyce's first book, which he wrote in 1905. The book was not published until 1913, a year before A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man became available in its serialized form. Six years later Ulysses was published in Paris and soon after banned in the United States until 1934.
His last work was Finnegan's Wake, which came to be only two years before his death. This Irish novelist also composed many short stories and poems including a play, Exile. Dubliners is a compilation of 15 short stories summarizing the life of the inhabitants of Dublin, Ireland.
The artist caused a great debate with his next publication, Ulysses. It established Joyce as a "leading modernist" while at the same time was banned from both the UK and the US because of obscenity charges. The novel depicts Leopold Bloom (an Irish Jew) and Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego) and their mental and physical meanderings through Dublin in one day. The novel is paralleled with the famous epic, The Odyssey.
One of the dominant features in James Joyce's works is Nationalism or "Home Rule". Ireland is the foundation for Joyce's Home Rule theme, and more specifically Dublin. Joyce had the belief that "...Ireland's ills had a source in English domination of the country" James's Joyce exiled himself from Ireland and held distaste for the Irishmen who called themselves Nationalist. Il Piccolo della Sera , 1907): ‘Probably the Lords will kill the measure, since that is their trade, but if they are wise, they will hesitate to alienate the sympathy of the Irish for constitutional agitation; especially now that India and Egypt are in an uproar and the overseas colonies are asking for an imperial federation. Form their point of view, it would not be advisable to provoke by an obstinate veto the reaction of a people who, poor in everything else and rich only ion political ideas, have perfected the strategy of obstructionism and made the word “boycott” an international war-cry.’
Sydney Bolt described why he felt Joyce left Ireland by saying: It was the Irish, Rather than the English, whose oppression he fled from. The struggle for Irish independence did not, of course, leave him unmoved. He held decided views on the major issues involved, and even after his departure continued to follow developments with interests in the nationalist press. But his conception of national enslavement was deeper and subtler than that of the patriots. He believed that the condition of slavery had produced a `slavish mentality' on Ireland. (qtd. in Moran 4)
The amazing thing about Joyce's portrayal of Dublin is the accuracy he achieved considering he was self-exiled from Ireland.
In Ulysses, the entire novel takes place in and around Dublin as Leopold Bloom travels through city on his mission to avoid home. According to Robert Nicholson, curator of the James Joyce Museum, on the long day in Ulysses, Bloom covered about 18 miles, about half on foot and the other by carriage or tram (qtd. in Bender 2). Specifically, the long day referred to is June 16, 1904 the day James Joyce and Nora Barnacle walked around Dublin for their first outing together.
Religion was also prominent in James Joyce's works. Having lost faith in the Catholic Church himself as he lost faith in Ireland, Joyce portrays his views on the topic of the life led by Irish Catholics.
A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought Robert Tracy states, "By making Bloom one of his two protagonists, Joyce affirmed Jewish membership in the Irish polity, and at the same time recognized the prevalence and nature of anti-Jewish prejudice in Ireland." (Tracy 2). I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day. James Joyce
The writer's feelings are well stated in Stephen's statement in A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve in that which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use--silence, exile, and cunning. (Joyce 519)
In Wilkie and Hurt's Literature of the Western World they hypothesize on what Joyce's fragmentation meant, "Joyce's word, like that of the other great modernists, was fragmented, the fragmentation defined for him, as the critic Charles Peak has pointed out, as a split between extra ordinaries of the romantic, self- absorbed Artist.
Myth is another important aspect of the Modernist period that Joyce portrays in his writing, this example could also be found in Ulysses. The myth is present throughout the entire novel in which he parallels his story to that of the mythological Odyssey. “ Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” ― James Joyce , Ulysses “ Shut your eyes and see.” ― James Joyce “ But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.” ― James Joyce
By comparison James Joyce's life is almost exactly like that of his alter-ego character. Both of the men have strong feelings and convictions on Ireland and the Catholic Church and both maintain an extensive knowledge for history and literature, referencing all the great works of literature and song.
J oyce's openness in writing was perhaps beyond the realm of many. It is a difficult task to sit and read Ulysses, but if the reader can study the language and realize the meaning in Joyce's words, a whole new level of genius unfolds. I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's morality. ~James Joyce