James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January
1941) was an Irish novelist, short story writer, and poet. He
contributed to the modernist avant-garde and is regarded as one of the
most influential and important authors of the 20th century. Joyce is
best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes
Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles,
perhaps most prominently 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
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 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, Dublin, into a
middle-class family on the way down. 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 alcoholism and unpredictable
finances. He went on to attend University College Dublin.
In 1904, in his early twenties, Joyce emigrated to continental Europe
with his partner (and later wife) Nora Barnacle. They lived in
Paris and Zurich. 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."
1 Early life
Trieste and Zurich
Paris and Zurich
3.3 Joyce and religion
5 Major works
5.2 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
5.3 Exiles and poetry
5.5 Finnegans Wake
8 Notes and references
9 Additional references
10 Further reading
11 External links
On 2 February 1882, Joyce was born in Rathgar, Dublin, Ireland.
Joyce's father was
John Stanislaus Joyce and his mother was Mary Jane
"May" Murray. He was the eldest of ten 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
Joyce's birth and baptismal certificate
John Stanislaus Joyce's family came from
Fermoy in County Cork, and
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 aged six, 1888
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
Dublin school, Belvedere College, in 1893. This came about
because of a chance meeting his father had with a Jesuit priest 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
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
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
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 University College
Dublin 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
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),
Bust of Joyce on St Stephen's Green, Dublin
After graduating from UCD in 1902, Joyce left for
Paris to study
medicine, but he soon abandoned this.
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. But Joyce claimed 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 finance 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 which
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 family praying at her bedside. After her death he continued
to drink heavily, and conditions at home grew quite appalling. He
scraped together a living reviewing books, teaching, and singing—he
was an accomplished tenor, and won the bronze medal in the 1904 Feis
On 7 January 1904 Joyce attempted to publish A Portrait of the Artist,
an essay-story dealing with aesthetics, only to have it rejected by
the free-thinking magazine Dana. He decided, on his twenty-second
birthday, to revise the story into a novel he called Stephen Hero. It
was a fictional rendering of Joyce's youth, but he eventually grew
frustrated with its direction and abandoned this work. It was never
published in this form, but years later, in Trieste, Joyce completely
rewrote it as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The unfinished
Stephen Hero was published after his death.
Also in 1904 he met Nora Barnacle, a young woman from
Galway city who
was working as a chambermaid. On 16 June 1904, they first stepped out
together, an event which would be commemorated by providing the date
for the action of Ulysses (as "Bloomsday").
Joyce remained in
Dublin for some time longer, drinking heavily. After
one of his drinking binges, he got into a fight over a
misunderstanding with a man in St Stephen's Green; he was picked
up and dusted off by a minor acquaintance of his father, Alfred H.
Hunter, who took him into his home to tend to his injuries. Hunter
was rumoured to be a Jew and to have an unfaithful wife, and would
serve as one of the models for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of
Ulysses. He took up with the medical student Oliver St. John
Gogarty, who informed the character for
Buck Mulligan in Ulysses.
After six nights in the Martello Tower that Gogarty was renting in
Sandycove, he left in the middle of the night following an altercation
which involved another student he lived with, the unstable Dermot
Chenevix Trench (Haines in Ulysses), who fired a pistol at some pans
hanging directly over Joyce's bed. Joyce walked the 8 miles
(13 km) back to
Dublin to stay with relatives for the night, and
sent a friend to the tower the next day to pack his trunk. Shortly
after, the couple left Ireland to live on the continent.
Trieste and Zurich
Joyce in Zürich, in 1915
Joyce and Nora went into self-imposed exile, moving first to
Switzerland, where he ostensibly taught English at the Berlitz
Language School through an agent in England. It later came to fact
that the agent had been swindled; the director of the school sent
Joyce on to Trieste, which was then part of
Austria-Hungary (until the
First World War), and is today part of Italy. Once again, he found
there was no position for him, but with the help of Almidano Artifoni,
director of the
Trieste Berlitz School, he finally secured a teaching
position in Pola, then also part of
Austria-Hungary (today part of
Croatia). He stayed there, teaching English mainly to Austro-Hungarian
naval officers stationed at the Pola base, from October 1904 until
March 1905, when the Austrians—having discovered an espionage ring
in the city—expelled all aliens. With Artifoni's help, he moved back
Trieste and began teaching English there. He remained in Trieste
for most of the next ten years.
Later that year Nora gave birth to their first child, George (known as
Giorgio). Joyce persuaded his brother, Stanislaus, to join him in
Trieste, and secured a teaching position for him at the school. Joyce
sought to augment his family's meagre income with his brother's
earnings. Stanislaus and Joyce had strained relations while they
lived together in Trieste, arguing about Joyce's drinking habits and
frivolity with money.
Joyce became frustrated with life in
Trieste and moved to Rome in late
1906, taking employment as a clerk in a bank. He disliked Rome and
Trieste in early 1907. His daughter Lucia was born later
Joyce returned to
Dublin in mid-1909 with George, to visit his father
and work on getting
Dubliners published. He visited Nora's family in
Galway and liked Nora's mother very much. While preparing to
Trieste he decided to take one of his sisters, Eva, back
with him to help Nora run the home. He spent a month in
returning to Dublin, this time as a representative of some cinema
owners and businessmen from Trieste. With their backing he launched
Ireland's first cinema, the Volta Cinematograph, which was
well-received, but fell apart after Joyce left. He returned to Trieste
in January 1910 with another sister, Eileen, in tow. Eva became
Dublin and returned there a few years later, but Eileen
spent the rest of her life on the continent, eventually marrying the
Czech bank cashier Frantisek Schaurek.
Joyce returned to
Dublin again briefly in mid-1912 during his
years-long fight with
Dublin publisher George Roberts over the
publication of Dubliners. His trip was once again fruitless, and on
his return he wrote the poem "Gas from a Burner", an invective against
Roberts. After this trip, he never again came closer to
London, despite many pleas from his father and invitations from his
fellow Irish writer William Butler Yeats.
One of his students in
Trieste was Ettore Schmitz, better known by the
pseudonym Italo Svevo. They met in 1907 and became lasting friends and
mutual critics. Schmitz was a Catholic of Jewish origin and became a
primary model for Leopold Bloom; most of the details about the Jewish
faith in Ulysses came from Schmitz's responses to queries from
Joyce. While living in Trieste, Joyce was first beset with eye
problems that ultimately required over a dozen surgical
Joyce concocted a number of money-making schemes during this period,
including an attempt to become a cinema magnate in Dublin. He
frequently discussed but ultimately abandoned a plan to import Irish
tweed to Trieste. Correspondence relating to that venture with the
Irish Woollen Mills were for a long time displayed in the windows of
their premises in Dublin. Joyce's skill at borrowing money saved him
from indigence. What income he had came partially from his position at
the Berlitz school and partially from teaching private students.
In 1915, after most of his students in
Trieste were conscripted to
fight in the First World War, Joyce moved to Zurich. Two influential
private students, Baron Ambrogio Ralli and Count Francesco Sordina,
petitioned officials for an exit permit for the Joyces, who in turn
agreed not to take any action against the emperor of Austria-Hungary
during the war.
Paris and Zurich
In Paris, 1924. Portrait by Patrick Tuohy.
Joyce set himself to finishing Ulysses in Paris, delighted to find
that he was gradually gaining fame as an avant-garde writer. A further
Harriet Shaw Weaver meant he could devote himself full-time
to writing again, as well as consort with other literary figures in
the city. During this time, Joyce's eyes began to give him more and
more problems and he often wore an eyepatch. He was treated by Dr
Louis Borsch in Paris, undergoing nine operations before Borsch's
death in 1929. Throughout the 1930s he travelled frequently to
Switzerland for eye surgeries and for treatments for his daughter
Lucia, who, according to the Joyces, suffered from schizophrenia.
Lucia was analysed by
Carl Jung at the time, who after reading Ulysses
is said to have concluded that her father had schizophrenia. Jung
said that she and her father were two people heading to the bottom of
a river, except that Joyce was diving and Lucia was
In Paris, Maria and
Eugene Jolas nursed Joyce during his long years of
writing Finnegans Wake. Were it not for their support (along with
Harriet Shaw Weaver's constant financial support), there is a good
possibility that his books might never have been finished or
published. In their literary magazine transition, the Jolases
published serially various sections of
Finnegans Wake under the title
Work in Progress. Joyce returned to
Zurich in late 1940, fleeing the
Nazi occupation of France.
Joyce and religion
The issue of Joyce's relationship with religion is somewhat
controversial. Early in life, he lapsed from Catholicism, according to
first-hand testimonies coming from himself, his brother Stanislaus
Joyce, and his wife:
My mind rejects the whole present social order and
Christianity—home, the recognised virtues, classes of life and
religious doctrines. [...] Six years ago I left the Catholic church,
hating it most fervently. I found it impossible for me to remain in it
on account of the impulses of my nature. I made secret war upon it
when I was a student and declined to accept the positions it offered
me. By doing this I made myself a beggar but I retained my pride. Now
I make open war upon it by what I write and say and do.
When the arrangements for Joyce's burial were being made, a Catholic
priest offered a religious service, which Joyce's wife Nora declined,
saying: "I couldn't do that to him."
However, Leonard Strong, William T. Noon, Robert Boyle and others have
argued that Joyce, later in life, reconciled with the faith he
rejected earlier in life and that his parting with the faith was
succeeded by a not so obvious reunion, and that Ulysses and Finnegans
Wake are essentially Catholic expressions. Likewise, Hugh Kenner
T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot believed they saw between the lines of Joyce's work
the outlook of a serious Christian and that beneath the veneer of the
work lies a remnant of Catholic belief and attitude. Kevin
Sullivan maintains that, rather than reconciling with the faith, Joyce
never left it. Critics holding this view insist that Stephen, the
protagonist of the semi-autobiographical A Portrait of the Artist as a
Young Man as well as Ulysses, is not Joyce. Somewhat cryptically,
in an interview after completing Ulysses, in response to the question
"When did you leave the Catholic Church", Joyce answered, "That's for
the Church to say." Eamonn Hughes maintains that Joyce takes a
dialectic approach, both affirming and denying, saying that Stephen's
much noted non-serviam is qualified—"I will not serve that which I
no longer believe...", and that the non-serviam will always be
balanced by Stephen's "I am a servant..." and Molly's "yes". He
attended Catholic Mass and Orthodox Sacred Liturgy, especially during
Holy Week, purportedly for aesthetic reasons. His sisters noted
his Holy Week attendance and that he did not seek to dissuade
them. One friend witnessed him cry "secret tears" upon hearing
Jesus' words on the cross and another accused him of being a "believer
at heart" because of his frequent attendance at church.
Umberto Eco compares Joyce to the ancient episcopi vagantes (wandering
bishops) in the Middle Ages. They left a discipline, not a cultural
heritage or a way of thinking. Like them, the writer retains the sense
of blasphemy held as a liturgical ritual.
Some critics and biographers have opined along the lines of Andrew
Gibson: "The modern
James Joyce may have vigorously resisted the
oppressive power of Catholic tradition. But there was another Joyce
who asserted his allegiance to that tradition, and never left it, or
wanted to leave it, behind him." Gibson argues that Joyce "remained a
Catholic intellectual if not a believer" since his thinking remained
influenced by his cultural background, even though he lived apart from
that culture. His relationship with religion was complex and not
easily understood, even perhaps by himself. He acknowledged the debt
he owed to his early Jesuit training. Joyce told the sculptor August
Suter, that from his Jesuit education, he had 'learnt to arrange
things in such a way that they become easy to survey and to
James Joyce in Zurich-Fluntern
On 11 January 1941, Joyce underwent surgery in
Zurich for a perforated
ulcer. He fell into a coma the following day. He awoke at 2 a.m.
on 13 January 1941, and asked a nurse to call his wife and son, before
losing consciousness again. They were still en route when he died
15 minutes later, less than a month short of his 59th birthday.
His body was interred in the
Fluntern Cemetery, Zurich. Buried
originally in an ordinary grave, he was moved in 1966 to a more
prominent "honour grave," with a seated portrait statue by American
Milton Hebald nearby. The Swiss tenor
Max Meili sang Addio
terra, addio cielo from Monteverdi's
L'Orfeo at the burial service.
Although two senior Irish diplomats were in Switzerland at the time,
neither attended Joyce's funeral, and the Irish government later
declined Nora's offer to permit the repatriation of Joyce's remains.
Nora, whom he had married in 1931, survived him by 10 years. She is
buried by his side, as is their son Giorgio, who died in 1976.
Main article: Dubliners
The title page of the first edition of Dubliners
Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories by Joyce, first
published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish
middle class life in and around
Dublin in the early years of the 20th
The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak and a
search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads
of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by converging ideas and
influences. The stories centre on Joyce's idea of an epiphany: a
moment when a character experiences a life-changing self-understanding
or illumination. Many of the characters in
Dubliners later appear in
minor roles in Joyce's novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the
collection are narrated by child protagonists. Subsequent stories deal
with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This aligns
with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood,
adolescence and maturity.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Main article: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a nearly complete rewrite
of the abandoned novel Stephen Hero. Joyce attempted to burn the
original manuscript in a fit of rage during an argument with Nora,
though to his subsequent relief it was rescued by his sister. A
Künstlerroman, Portrait is a heavily autobiographical
coming-of-age novel depicting the childhood and adolescence of the
Stephen Dedalus and his gradual growth into artistic
self-consciousness. Some hints of the techniques Joyce frequently
employed in later works, such as stream of consciousness, interior
monologue, and references to a character's psychic reality rather than
to his external surroundings are evident throughout this novel.
Exiles and poetry
Pomes Penyeach and Chamber Music (poetry collection)
Despite early interest in the theatre, Joyce published only one play,
Exiles, begun shortly after the outbreak of the First World War in
1914 and published in 1918. A study of a husband and wife
relationship, the play looks back to The Dead (the final story in
Dubliners) and forward to Ulysses, which Joyce began around the time
of the play's composition.
Joyce published a number of books of poetry. His first mature
published work was the satirical broadside "The Holy Office" (1904),
in which he proclaimed himself to be the superior of many prominent
members of the Celtic Revival. His first full-length poetry collection
Chamber Music (1907; referring, Joyce joked, to the sound of urine
hitting the side of a chamber pot) consisted of 36 short lyrics. This
publication led to his inclusion in the Imagist Anthology, edited by
Ezra Pound, who was a champion of Joyce's work. Other poetry Joyce
published in his lifetime include "Gas From A Burner" (1912), Pomes
Penyeach (1927), and "Ecce Puer" (written in 1932 to mark the birth of
his grandson and the recent death of his father). It was published by
Black Sun Press
Black Sun Press in Collected Poems (1936).
Main article: Ulysses (novel)
Announcement of the initial publication of Ulysses.
As he was completing work on
Dubliners in 1906, Joyce considered
adding another story featuring a Jewish advertising canvasser called
Leopold Bloom under the title Ulysses. Although he did not pursue the
idea further at the time, he eventually commenced work on a novel
using both the title and basic premise in 1914. The writing was
completed in October 1921. Three more months were devoted to working
on the proofs of the book before Joyce halted work shortly before his
self-imposed deadline, his 40th birthday (2 February 1922).
Thanks to Ezra Pound, serial publication of the novel in the magazine
The Little Review
The Little Review began in March 1918. This magazine was edited by
Margaret C. Anderson
Margaret C. Anderson and Jane Heap, with the intermittent financial
backing of John Quinn, a successful New York commercial lawyer with an
interest in contemporary experimental art and literature.
Unfortunately, this publication encountered problems with New York
Postal Authorities; serialisation ground to a halt in December 1920;
the editors were convicted of publishing obscenity in February
1921. Although the conviction was based on the "Nausicaä" episode
The Little Review
The Little Review had fuelled the fires of controversy
with dada poet Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven's defence of Ulysses in an
essay "The Modest Woman." Joyce's novel was not published in the
United States until 1933.
Partly because of this controversy, Joyce found it difficult to get a
publisher to accept the book, but it was published in 1922 by Sylvia
Beach from her well-known
Rive Gauche bookshop, Shakespeare and
Company. An English edition published the same year by Joyce's patron,
Harriet Shaw Weaver, ran into further difficulties with the United
States authorities, and 500 copies that were shipped to the States
were seized and possibly destroyed. The following year, John Rodker
produced a print run of 500 more intended to replace the missing
copies, but these were burned by English customs at Folkestone. A
further consequence of the novel's ambiguous legal status as a banned
book was that a number of "bootleg" versions appeared, most notably a
number of pirate versions from the publisher Samuel Roth. In 1928, a
court injunction against Roth was obtained and he ceased publication.
With the appearance of both Ulysses and T. S. Eliot's poem, The Waste
Land, 1922 was a key year in the history of English-language literary
modernism. In Ulysses, Joyce employs stream of consciousness, parody,
jokes, and virtually every other literary technique to present his
characters. The action of the novel, which takes place in a single
day, 16 June 1904, sets the characters and incidents of the
Homer in modern
Dublin and represents
Telemachus in the characters of Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom
and Stephen Dedalus, parodically contrasted with their lofty models.
The book explores various areas of
Dublin life, dwelling on its
squalor and monotony. Nevertheless, the book is also an affectionately
detailed study of the city, and Joyce claimed that if
Dublin were to
be destroyed in some catastrophe it could be rebuilt, brick by brick,
using his work as a model. In order to achieve this level of
accuracy, Joyce used the 1904 edition of Thom's Directory—a work
that listed the owners and/or tenants of every residential and
commercial property in the city. He also bombarded friends still
living there with requests for information and clarification.
The book consists of 18 chapters, each covering roughly one hour of
the day, beginning around about 8 a.m. and ending sometime after
2 a.m. the following morning. Each of the 18 chapters of the
novel employs its own literary style. Each chapter also refers to a
specific episode in Homer's
Odyssey and has a specific colour, art or
science and bodily organ associated with it. This combination of
kaleidoscopic writing with an extreme formal, schematic structure
represents one of the book's major contributions to the development of
20th century modernist literature. The use of classical mythology
as a framework for his book and the near-obsessive focus on external
detail in a book in which much of the significant action is happening
inside the minds of the characters are others. Nevertheless, Joyce
complained that, "I may have oversystematised Ulysses," and played
down the mythic correspondences by eliminating the chapter titles that
had been taken from Homer. Joyce was reluctant to publish the
chapter titles because he wanted his work to stand separately from the
Greek form. It was only when
Stuart Gilbert published his critical
work on Ulysses in 1930 that the schema was supplied by Joyce to
Gilbert. But as Terrence Killeen points out this schema was developed
after the novel had been written and was not something that Joyce
consulted as he wrote the novel.
Main article: Finnegans Wake
Joyce as depicted on the Irish £10 banknote, issued 1993–2002
Having completed work on Ulysses, Joyce was so exhausted that he did
not write a line of prose for a year. On 10 March 1923 he informed
a patron, Harriet Weaver: "Yesterday I wrote two pages—the first I
have since the final Yes of Ulysses. Having found a pen, with some
difficulty I copied them out in a large handwriting on a double sheet
of foolscap so that I could read them. Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il
vizio, the Italians say. 'The wolf may lose his skin but not his vice'
or 'the leopard cannot change his spots.'" Thus was born a text
that became known, first, as Work in Progress and later Finnegans
By 1926 Joyce had completed the first two parts of the book. In that
year, he met Eugene and
Maria Jolas who offered to serialise the book
in their magazine transition. For the next few years, Joyce worked
rapidly on the new book, but in the 1930s, progress slowed
considerably. This was due to a number of factors, including the death
of his father in 1931, concern over the mental health of his daughter
Lucia, and his own health problems, including failing eyesight. Much
of the work was done with the assistance of younger admirers,
including Samuel Beckett. For some years, Joyce nursed the eccentric
plan of turning over the book to his friend James Stephens to
complete, on the grounds that Stephens was born in the same hospital
as Joyce exactly one week later, and shared the first name of both
Joyce and of Joyce's fictional alter-ego, an example of Joyce's
Reaction to the work was mixed, including negative comment from early
supporters of Joyce's work, such as Pound and the author's brother,
Stanislaus Joyce. To counteract this hostile reception, a book of
essays by supporters of the new work, including Beckett, William
Carlos Williams and others was organised and published in 1929 under
the title Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of
Work in Progress. At his 57th birthday party at the Jolases' home,
Joyce revealed the final title of the work and
Finnegans Wake was
published in book form on 4 May 1939. Later, further negative comments
surfaced from doctor and author Hervey Cleckley, who questioned the
significance others had placed on the work. In his book, The Mask of
Sanity, Cleckley refers to
Finnegans Wake as "a 628-page collection of
erudite gibberish indistinguishable to most people from the familiar
word salad produced by hebephrenic patients on the back wards of any
Joyce's method of stream of consciousness, literary allusions and free
dream associations was pushed to the limit in Finnegans Wake, which
abandoned all conventions of plot and character construction and is
written in a peculiar and obscure English, based mainly on complex
multi-level puns. This approach is similar to, but far more extensive
than that used by
Lewis Carroll in Jabberwocky. This has led many
readers and critics to apply Joyce's oft-quoted description in the
Wake of Ulysses as his "usylessly unreadable Blue Book of Eccles"
to the Wake itself. However, readers have been able to reach a
consensus about the central cast of characters and general plot.
Much of the wordplay in the book stems from the use of multilingual
puns which draw on a wide range of languages. The role played by
Beckett and other assistants included collating words from these
languages on cards for Joyce to use and, as Joyce's eyesight worsened,
of writing the text from the author's dictation.
The view of history propounded in this text is very strongly
influenced by Giambattista Vico, and the metaphysics of Giordano Bruno
Nola are important to the interplay of the "characters." Vico
propounded a cyclical view of history, in which civilisation rose from
chaos, passed through theocratic, aristocratic, and democratic phases,
and then lapsed back into chaos. The most obvious example of the
influence of Vico's cyclical theory of history is to be found in the
opening and closing words of the book.
Finnegans Wake opens with the
words "riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of
bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth
Castle and Environs." ("vicus" is a pun on Vico) and ends "A way a
lone a last a loved a long the." In other words, the book ends with
the beginning of a sentence and begins with the end of the same
sentence, turning the book into one great cycle. Indeed, Joyce
said that the ideal reader of the Wake would suffer from "ideal
insomnia" and, on completing the book, would turn to page one and
start again, and so on in an endless cycle of reading.
James Joyce on North Earl Street, Dublin.
Joyce's work has been an important influence on writers and scholars
such as Samuel Beckett, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Jorge Luis
Borges, Flann O'Brien, Salman Rushdie, Robert Anton
Wilson, John Updike, David Lodge and Joseph Campbell.
Ulysses has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire
[Modernist] movement". The Bulgarian-French literary theorist
Julia Kristéva characterised Joyce's novel writing as "polyphonic"
and a hallmark of postmodernity alongside the poets Mallarmé and
James Joyce's bust at
St Stephen's Green
St Stephen's Green in Dublin
Some scholars, notably Vladimir Nabokov, have reservations, often
championing some of his fiction while condemning other works. In
Nabokov's opinion, Ulysses was brilliant, Finnegans Wake
Joyce's influence is also evident in fields other than literature. The
sentence "Three quarks for Muster Mark!" in Joyce's Finnegans Wake
is the source of the word "quark", the name of one of the elementary
particles proposed by the physicist
Murray Gell-Mann in 1963.
The work and life of Joyce is celebrated annually on 16 June, known as
Dublin and in an increasing number of cities worldwide,
and critical studies in scholarly publications, such as the James
Joyce Quarterly, continue. Both popular and academic uses of Joyce's
work were hampered by restrictions imposed by Stephen J. Joyce,
Joyce's grandson and executor of his literary estate. On 1 January
2012, those restrictions were lessened by the expiry of copyright
protection of much of the published work of James Joyce.
In April 2013 the
Central Bank of Ireland
Central Bank of Ireland issued a silver €10
commemorative coin in honour of Joyce that misquoted a famous line
from his masterwork Ulysses.
Chamber Music (poems, 1907)
Dubliners (short-story collection, 1914)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (novel, 1916)
Exiles (play, 1918)
Ulysses (novel, 1922)
Pomes Penyeach (poems, 1927)
Collected Poems (poems, 1936, which includes Chamber Music, Pomes
Penyeach and other previously published works)
Finnegans Wake (novel, 1939)
Stephen Hero (precursor to A Portrait; written 1904–06, published
Giacomo Joyce (written 1907, published 1968)
James Joyce Vol. 1 (Ed. Stuart Gilbert, 1957)
The Critical Writings of
James Joyce (Eds. Ellsworth Mason and Richard
The Cat and the Devil (London: Faber and Faber, 1965)
James Joyce Vol. 2 (Ed. Richard Ellmann, 1966)
James Joyce Vol. 3 (Ed. Richard Ellman, 1966)
Selected Letters of
James Joyce (Ed. Richard Ellmann, 1975)
The Cats of Copenhagen
The Cats of Copenhagen (Ithys Press, 2012)
Finn's Hotel (Ithys Press, 2013)
Notes and references
^ The second name was mistakenly registered as "Augusta". Joyce was
named and baptised James Augustine Joyce, for his paternal
grandfather, Costello (1992) p. 53, and the Birth and Baptismal
Certificate reproduced above in this article shows "Augustine". Ellman
says: "The second child, James Augusta (as the birth was incorrectly
registered) ...". Ellmann (1982) p. 21.
^ Ellman, p. 505, citing Power, From an Old Waterford House (London,
n.d.), pp. 63–64
^ Jackson, John Wyse; Costello, Peter (July 1998). "John Stanislaus
Joyce: the voluminous life and genius of James Joyce's father"
^ Jackson, John Wyse; Costello, Peter (July 1998). "John Stanislaus
Joyce: the voluminous life and genius of James Joyce's father" (book
excerpt). excerpt appearing in The New York Times. New York: St.
Martin's Press. ch.1 "Ancestral Joyces". ISBN 9780312185992.
OCLC 38354272. Retrieved 25 September 2012. To find the missing
link in the chain it is necessary to turn south to County Kerry. Some
time about 1680, William FitzMaurice, 19th of the Lords of Kerry ...
required a new steward for the household at his family seat at Lixnaw
on the Brick river, a few miles south-west of
Listowel in the Barony
of Clanmaurice in North Kerry. He found
Seán Mór Seoighe (Big John
Joyce) ... Seán Mór Seoige came from Connemara, most likely from in
or near the Irish-speaking Joyce Country itself, in that wild area
south of Westport, County Mayo.
^ "'Why are you so afraid of thunder?' asked [Arthur] Power, 'your
children don't mind it.' 'Ah,' said Joyce contemptuously, 'they have
no religion.' Joyce's fears were part of his identity, and he had no
wish, even if he had had the power, to slough any of them off."
(Ellmann (1982), p. 514, citing Power, From an Old Waterford House
(London, n.d.), p. 71
^ In Search of Ireland's Heroes:
Carmel McCaffrey pp 279–286
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 32–34.
^ James Joyce:
Richard Ellmann 1982 PP 54–55
^ Themodernworld.com Archived 22 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 60, 190, 340, 342; Cf. Portrait of the Artist as
a Young Man, Wordsworth 1992, Intro. & Notes J. Belanger, 2001,
136, n. 309: "Synopsis Philosophiae ad mentem D. Thomae. This appears
to be a reference to Elementa Philosophiae ad mentem D. Thomae, a
selection of Thomas Aquinas's writings edited and published by G. M.
Mancini, Professor of Theology at the Pontifical University of Saint
Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome (see The Irish Ecclesiastical
Record, Vol V, Year 32, No. 378, June 1899, p. 570
^ Jordan, Anthony, "An Irishman's Diary", Irish Times, 20 February
Arthur Griffith with
James Joyce & WB Yeats- Liberating Ireland
by Anthony J. Jordan p. 53. Westport Books 2013.
^ "Residents of a house 8.1 in Royal Terrace (Clontarf West, Dublin)".
National Archives of Ireland. 1901. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
^ Richard Ellmann:
James Joyce (1959) pp 117–118
^ She was originally diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, but this
proved incorrect, and she was diagnosed with cancer in April 1903.
Ellmann (1982), pp. 128–129
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 129, 136
^ "History of the
Feis Ceoil Association". Archived from the original
on 1 April 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2009. CS1 maint: BOT:
original-url status unknown (link) . Siemens
Feis Ceoil Association. 1
April 2007 version retrieved from the Internet archive on 9 November
^ Michael Parsons. "Michael Flatley confirms he owns medal won by
James Joyce". Irishtimes.com. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
^ "Joyce – Other works". The
James Joyce Centre. Archived from the
original on 24 June 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
^ "On this day…30 September". The
James Joyce Centre.
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 161–62.
^ Ellmann (1982), p. 230.
^ Ellmann, p. 175.
^ McCourt 2001.
^ According to Ellmann, Stanislaus allowed Joyce to collect his pay,
"to simplify matters" (p. 213).
^ The worst of the conflicts were during July 1910 (Ellmann (1982),
^ Williams, Bob. Joycean Chronology. Archived 22 June 2011 at the
Wayback Machine. The Modern World, 6 November 2002, Retrieved on 9
^ Beja, Morris (1992). James Joyce: A Literary Life. Columbus, Ohio:
Ohio State University Press. p. 54.
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 300–03, 308, 311.
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 384–85.
^ Ellmann (1982), p. 272.
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 268, 417.
^ Ellman (1982), p. 386.
^ Ellmann (1982) pp. 566–74.
^ Shloss, p. 278.
^ Pepper, Tara
^ Shloss p. 297.
^ The literary executor of the Joyce estate, Stephen J. Joyce, burned
letters written by Lucia that he received upon Lucia's death in
1982.(Stanley, Alessandra. "Poet Told All; Therapist Provides the
Record," The New York Times, 15 July 1991. Retrieved 9 July 2007).
Stephen Joyce stated in a letter to the editor of The New York Times
that "Regarding the destroyed correspondence, these were all personal
letters from Lucia to us. They were written many years after both
Nonno and Nonna [i.e. Mr and Mrs Joyce] died and did not refer to
them. Also destroyed were some postcards and one telegram from Samuel
Beckett to Lucia. This was done at Sam's written request."Joyce,
Stephen (31 December 1989). "The Private Lives of Writers" (Letter to
the Editor). The New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
^ Letter to Nora Barnacle. 29 August 1904. In Selected Letters of
James Joyce. Richard Ellmann, ed. London: Faber and Faber, 1975.
ISBN 0-571-09306-X pp. 25–26
^ Ellmann (1982), p. 742, citing a 1953 interview with George
^ Segall, Jeffrey Joyce in America: cultural politics and the trials
of Ulysses, p. 140, University of California Press 1993
^ Segall, Jeffrey Joyce in America: cultural politics and the trials
of Ulysses, p. 142, University of California Press 1993
^ a b Segall, Jeffrey Joyce in America: cultural politics and the
trials of Ulysses, p. 160, University of California Press 1993
^ Davison, Neil R., James Joyce, Ulysses, and the Construction of
Jewish Identity: Culture, Biography, and 'the Jew' in Modernist
Europe, p. 78, Cambridge University Press, 1998
^ Hughs, Eamonn in Robert Welch's Irish writers and religion,
pp.116–137, Rowman & Littlefield 1992
^ a b c R.J. Schork, "
James Joyce and the Eastern Orthodox Church" in
Journal of Modern Greek Studies, vol. 17, 1999
^ Free translation from: Eco, Umberto. Las poéticas de Joyce.
Barcelona: DeBolsillo, 2011. ISBN 978-84-9989-253-5, p. 17
^ Gibson, Andrew, James Joyce, p. 41, Reaktion Books 2006
James Joyce and the Jesuits: a sort of homecoming".
Catholicireland.net. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
^ Osteen, Mark (22 June 1995). "A Splendid Bazaar: The Shopper's Guide
to the New Dubliners". Studies in Short Fiction.
^ Michael Groden. "Notes on James Joyce's Ulysses". The University of
Western Ontario. Archived from the original on 1 November 2005.
^ MacBride, p. 14.
^ Deming, p. 749.
^ Obscenity trial of Ulysses in The Little Review; Gillers, pp.
^ Gammel, Irene. Baroness Elsa: Gender,
Dada and Everyday Modernity.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002, 253.
^ The fear of prosecution for publication ended with the court
decision of United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, 5 F.Supp. 182
(S.D.N.Y. 1933). Ellman, pp. 666–67.
^ Examined at length in Vladimir Nabokov's Lectures on Ulysses. A
Facsimile of the Manuscript. Bloomfield Hills/Columbia: Bruccoli
^ Adams, David. Colonial Odysseys: Empire and Epic in the Modernist
Cornell University Press, 2003, p. 84.
^ Sherry, Vincent B. James Joyce: Ulysses. Cambridge University Press,
2004, p. 102.
^ Dettmar, Kevin J. H. Rereading the New: A Backward Glance at
Modernism. University of Michigan Press, 1992, p. 285.
^ Ulysses Unbound: Terence Killeen
^ Bulson, Eric. The Cambridge Introduction to James Joyce. Cambridge
University Press, 2006, p. 14.
^ Joyce, James. Ulysses: The 1922 Text. Oxford University Press, 1998,
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 591–592.
^ Ellmann (1982), pp. 577–85.
^ Cleckley, Hervey (1982). The Mask of Sanity. Revised Edition. Mosby
Medical Library. ISBN 0-452-25341-1.
^ Finnegans Wake, 179.26–27.
^ Gluck, p. 27.
^ Shockley, Alan (2009). "Playing the Square Circle: Musical Form and
Polyphony in the Wake". In Friedman, Alan W.; Rossman, Charles.
De-Familiarizing Readings: Essays from the Austin Joyce Conference.
European Joyce Studies. 18. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi. p. 104.
^ Finnegans Wake, 120.9–16.
^ Friedman, Melvin J. A review Archived 27 September 2006 at the
Wayback Machine. of Barbara Reich Gluck's Beckett and Joyce:
friendship and fiction,
Bucknell University Press (June 1979),
ISBN 0-8387-2060-9. Retrieved 3 December 2006.
^ Sewell, Frank (2000). Modern Irish Poetry: A New Alhambra (PDF).
Oxford University Press. pp. Introduction p3.
ISBN 9780198187370. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 May
2013. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
^ Williamson, pp. 123–124, 179, 218.
^ For example, Hopper, p. 75, says "In all of O'Brien's work the
figure of Joyce hovers on the horizon ...".
^ Interview of Salman Rushdie, by Margot Dijkgraaf for the Dutch
newspaper NRC Handelsblad, translated by K. Gwan Go. Retrieved 3
^ Edited transcript of a 23 April 1988 interview of Robert Anton
Wilson Archived 31 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine. by David A.
Banton, broadcast on HFJC, 89.7 FM, Los Altos Hills, California.
Retrieved 3 December 2006.
^ Updike has referred to Joyce as influential in a number of
interviews and essays. The most recent of such references is in the
foreword to The Early Stories:1953–1975 (London: Hamish Hamilton,
2003), p. x. John Collier wrote favorably of "that city of modern
prose," and added, "I was struck by the great number of magnificent
passages in which words are used as they are used in poetry, and in
which the emotion which is originally Other instances include an
interview with Frank Gado in First Person:Conversations with Writers
and their Writing (New York:Union College Press, 1973), p.92, and
James Plath's Conversations with
John Updike (Jackson:University of
Mississippi Press, 1994), p.197 and p.223.
^ Guignery, Vanessa; François Gallix (2007). Pre and Post-publication
Itineraries of the Contemporary Novel in English. Publibook.
p. 126. ISBN 9782748335101. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
^ ""About Joseph Campbell"". Archived from the original on 1 January
2007. Retrieved 10 December 2006. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url
status unknown (link) ,
Joseph Campbell Foundation. 1 January 2007
version retrieved from the Internet archive on 9 November 2009.
^ Beebe, p. 176.
^ Julia Kristéva, La Révolution du langage poétique, Paris, Seuil,
^ "When I want good reading I reread Proust's A la Recherche du Temps
Perdu or Joyce's Ulysses" (Nabokov, letter to Elena Sikorski, 3 August
1950, in Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings
[Boston: Beacon, 2000], pp. 464–465). Nabokov put Ulysses at the
head of his list of the "greatest twentieth century masterpieces"
(Nabokov, Strong Opinions [New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974] excerpt).
^ "Of course, it would have been unseemly for a monarch to appear in
the robes of learning at a university lectern and present to rosy
youths Finnigan's Wake [sic] as a monstrous extension of Angus
MacDiarmid's "incoherent transactions" and of Southey's Lingo-Grande .
. ." (Nabokov, Pale Fire [New York: Random House, 1962], p. 76). The
comparison is made by an unreliable narrator, but Nabokov in an
unpublished note had compared "the worst parts of James Joyce" to
McDiarmid and to Swift's letters to Stella (quoted by Brian Boyd,
"Notes" in Nabokov's Novels 1955–1962: Lolita / Pnin / Pale Fire
[New York: Library of America, 1996], 893).
^ Three quarks for Muster Mark! Text of
Finnegans Wake at Trent
University, Peterborough, Ontario. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
^ ""quark"". Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 28
November 2006. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
2000. 2 July 2007 version retrieved from the Internet archive on 9
^ Max, D.T. (19 June 2006). "The Injustice Collector". The New
^ Kileen, Terence (16 June 2011). "Joyce enters the public domain".
The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012.
Retrieved 4 January 2012.
^ Kileen, Terence (31 December 2011). "EU copyright on Joyce works
ends at midnight". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 4
January 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
^ "Error in Ulysses line on special €10 coin issued by Central
Bank". RTÉ News. 10 April 2013.
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Media related to
James Joyce at Wikimedia Commons
Quotations related to
James Joyce at Wikiquote
Joyce Papers, National Library of Ireland
The Joyce Papers 2002, c.1903–1928
James Joyce – Paul Léon Papers, 1930–1940
Hans E. Jahnke Bequest at the
James Joyce Foundation online at
the National Library Of Ireland, 2014
James Joyce at Faded Page (Canada)
James Joyce at
LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
Bibliowiki has original media or text related to this article: James
Joyce (in the public domain in Canada)
"Archival material relating to James Joyce". UK National
James Joyce Scholars' Collection from the University of Wisconsin
Digital Collections Center
James Joyce from
Dublin to Ithaca Exhibition from the collections of
Bibliography of Joycean Scholarship and Literary Criticism
ISNI: 0000 0001 2130 2495
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