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James Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, whose psychological views opened up a whole New World to twentieth century writers. He is still known as one of the most influential writers not only in Ireland, but all throughout Ireland. Joyce was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882, into the care of his mother and father, both poverty-stricken. He attended only Jesuit-run schools, first the boarding school, Clongowes, then the day school, Belvedere, and finally the Royal University, which was better known as the University College (Litz 8). While he attended Belvedere he enjoyed writing essays, and won several awards for his phenomenal test scores. Even as a young man, Joyce was destined to be well known and famous for the rest of his life. But by the end of his university years he had rejected Catholicism in favor of literature (Litz 8). His love for writing just had to come first before anything else.
After his years in the university he began experimenting with prostitutes and alcohol, and spent large amounts of money, which he claimed
was to study medicine, but instead wasted it on sick pleasures in Paris. He returned shortly from Paris when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. (Litz 15). After his mother died, family life became even tougher for Joyce, he began to drink heavily. He made a little money reviewing books, teaching school, and singing.
In February of 1904 he started writing a long fiction autobiography called Stephen Hero, which he could never find the time to finish or even begin again (Litz 8). In June 1904 he met Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid whose down-to-earth attitude welcomed him more so than any of the girls he met at the university did. They ran off to Europe together in October 1904. James and Nora ended up in Trieste and Pola, Austria, where they spoke Italian, and were desperately poor, so poverty-stricken that his brother, brother Stanislaus ended up paying a lot of their bills (Litz 8).
In 1909 and 1912, James visited Ireland, first trying to arrange publication of Dubliners. Between 1914 and 1920, Joyce's fortunes gradually improved as his writing gained attention and the wealthier readers began to turn their heads in his direction. But his big break which is an irony is when the banning of Ulysses (published 1922) occurred, and turned Joyce into a household name (Chace 25).
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He spent 1922 to 1939 writing the unfathomable Finnegans Wake. After that Joyce’s short-lived fame went downhill, his daughter Lucia went mad and had to be placed in an institution. Joyce eventually married Nora in 1931. He died a sudden death on January 13, 1941 (Litz 9).
As stated before, Joyce published essays on literature. His first book, Chamber Music, which as written in 1907, was constructed with 36 love poems that reflect on Joyce as a person. In his second work, Dubliners published in 1914 Joyce takes 15 short stories which are telling stories of his past, and of his family and himself in Dublin (Chace 15). His first long work of fiction, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 1916, is clearly and autobiography of Joyce’s life. Another early work was the play Exiles with was published in 1918 and its not one of the more famous writings of James Joyce (Litz 8-9).
Joyce was finally recognized when Ulysses was published in 1922. Ulysses was a novel that drew the attention of many people. The reason being because Ulysses was a novel that many people could relate to, such as someone so ironic as an Irish Jew (Litz 25). His other late publications include two collections of verse, Pomes Penyeach, 1927 and Collected Poems which were published 1936 (Chace 15). Stephen Hero, which, although not published until 1944, was an early version of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Finnegans Wake, 1939 was Joyce's last and most complex work. It was his only work that includes a view of history, although fiction he still captures many ideas that real in Irish culture (Litz 7).
Joyce captures something different in his writing; something that is not comparable amongst his colleagues. He uses a method that is not easy to find anywhere; he involved history as well as grasping the concept of modern life that he was living. He used himself a lot in his writings. As a matter of fact, two of his writings were well known to be about his own life, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and The Dubliners. Both of those piece of work involved his rough childhood, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was even thought to be autobiographical.
Joyce was a very troubled man, and he wrote about many things that were controversial, as seen in Ulysses Joyce is trying to write about issues that are seen everyday, but people did not really talk about back then. When people first read Ulysses they either loved it, or they hated it. But either way it as thought to be one of the best pieces that Joyce ever created to many people in Ireland. Joyce also captured something different when he wrote and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. In this piece he was trying to include himself, well he was writing about himself more or less. He caused controversy with this as well because many people did not respect the way of living that Joyce was involved in.
Joyce is one of the most well known authors from Ireland, and for his time he started a new way of writing, he wrote about himself drinking, and about the abusive home life that he had.