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James Joyce was born in Dublin. His father, John Stanislaus Joyce, was an impoverished gentleman, who had failed in a distillery business and tried all kinds of professions, including politics and tax collecting. Joyce’s mother, Mary Jane May Murray, was ten years younger than her husband. She was an accomplished pianist, whose life was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church and her husband. In spite of the poverty, the family struggled to maintain solid middle-class facade. From the age of six, Joyce was educated by Jesuits at Clongowes Wood College, at Clane, and then at Belvedere College in Dublin (1893-97). Later the author thanked Jesuit for teaching him to think straight, although he rejected their religious instructions. At school, he once broke his glasses and was unable to do his lesson. This episode was recounted in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). In 1898 he entered the University College, Dublin, where he found his early inspirations from the works of Henrik Ibsen, St. Thomas Aquinas and W.B. Joyce’s first publication was an essay on Ibsen’s play When We Dead Awaken. It appeared in Fortnightly Review in 1900. At this time he began writing lyric poems.
After graduation in 1902 the twenty-year-Old Joyce went to Paris, where he worked as a journalist, teacher and in Other Occupations in difficult financial conditions. He spent in France a year, returning when a telegram arrived saying his mother was dying. Not long after her death, Joyce was traveling again. He left Dublin in 1904 with Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid (they married in 1931), staying in Pola now in Croatia, Austria-Hungary, and in Trieste, which was the world’s seventh busiest port. Joyce gave English lessons in Berlitz School and talked about setting up an agency to sell Irish tweed. He continued to live abroad refusing a post teaching Italian literature in Dublin. The Trieste years were nomadic, poverty-stricken, and productive Joyce and Nora loved this cosmopolitan port city at the head of the Adriatic Sea; where they lived in a number of different addresses. During this period, Joyce wrote most of Dubliners (1914), all of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the play, Exiles (1918), and large sections of Ulysses. Several of Joyce’s siblings joined them, and two children, Giorgio and Lucia, were born. The children grew up speaking the Trieste dialect of Italian. Joyce and Nora stayed together although Joyce fell in love with Anny schleimer, the daughter of an Austrian banker, and Roberto Prezioso, the editor of the newspaper II Piccolo della Sera, fried to seduce Nora. After a short stint in Rome in 1906-07 as a bank clerk ended in illness, Joyce returned to Trieste,
In 1907, Joyce published a collection of poems, Chamber Music. The title was suggested, as the author later stated, by the sound of urine tinkling into a prostitute’s chamber pot, The have with vowels and repetitions such musical quality that many of them have been made into songs. “I have left my book, / I have left my room, / for I heard you singing (through the gloom.” Joyce himself had a fine tenor voice; he greatly liked opera performances. In 1909, Joyce opened a cinema in Dublin, but this affair failed and he was soon back in Trieste still broke and working as a teacher, tweed salesman journalist and
Lecturer. In 1912, he was in Ireland, trying to persuade Maunsel & Co. to fulfill their contract to publish Dubliners. The work contained a series of short stories, dealing with the lives of ordinary people, youth, adolescence, young adulthood, and maturity. The last story, ‘ ‘The Dead”, was adapted into screen by John Huston in 1987. It was Joyce’s last journey to his native country. However, he had become friend with Ezra Pound, who began to market his works. In 1916, appeared A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, an autobiographical novel. It apparently began as a quasi-biographical memoir entitled Stephen Hero between 1904 and 1906. Only a fragment of the original manuscript has survived. The book follows the life of the protagonist, Stephen Dedalus, from childhood towards maturity, his education at University College, Dublin, and rebellion to free himself from the claims of family and Irish nationalism. Stephen takes religion seriously, and considers entering a seminary, but then also rejects Roman Catholicism. “—look here, Cranly, he said.
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 that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using my defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning.” At the end, Stephen resolves to ‘leave Ireland for Paris to encounter “the reality of experience”. He wants to establish himself as a writer. At the outset of the First World War, Joyce moved with his family to Zürich, where Lenin and the poet essayist Tristan Tzara had found their refuge. Joyce’s WW I years with legendary Russian revolutionary and Tzara, who founded the Dadaist movement at the Cabaret Voltaire provide the basis for Tom Stoppard’s play Travesties (1974). In Zürich. Joyce started to develop the early chapters of Ulysses, which was first published in France, because of censorship troubles in the Great Britain and the United States, where the book became legally available in 1933. The theme of jealousy was based partly on a story. A former friend of Joyce claimed that he had been sexually intimate -with the author’s wife, Nora, even while Joyce was courting her. Ulysses takes place on one day in Dublin (June 16, 1904) and reflected the classic work of Homer. The main characters are Leopold Bloom, a Jewish advertising canvasser, his wife Molly, and Stephen the hero from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. are intended to be modem of Telemachus, Ulysses, and Penelope. Barmaids are the famous Sirens. One of the Model for Bloom was Ettore Schmitz (Italo Svevo), a novelist and businessman who was Joyce’s student at the Berlitz school) in Trieste. Story; using stream-of- consciousness technique, parallels the major events in (Odysseus’ journey towards home. However, Bloom’s adventures are less heroic and his homecoming is less violent. Bloom makes his trip to the underworld by attending a funeral at Glasnevin Cometary. ‘We are now for the repose of his soul. Hoping you’re well and not in hell. Nice changed air; out of the .frying pan of life into the fire of purgatory.” the paths of Stephen and Bloom cross and recross through the day. Joyce’s technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature from 1917 to 1930, Joyce endured several eye operations, being totally blind for short intervals. (According to tradition, Homer was also blind.) In March 1923, Joyce began in Paris his second major work, Finnegan’s Wake, suffering at the same time chronic eye troubles caused by glaucoma. The first segment of the novel appeared in Ford Madox Ford’s transatlantic review in April 1924, as part of what Joyce called Work in Progress. Wake occupied Joyce’s time for the next sixteen years — final version was completed late in 1938. A copy of the novel was present at Joyce’s birthday celebration in February 1939. Joyce’s daughter Luda, born in Trieste in 1907, became Carl Jung’s patient in 1934. In her teens, she studied dance, and later The Paris Times praised her skills as choreographer, linguist, and performer. With her father, she collaborated in Pomes Penyeach (1927), for which she did some illustrations. Lucia’s great love was Samuel Beckett, who was not interested in her. In the 1930s, she started to behave erratically. At the Burghölz psychiatric clinic in Zürich, where Jung worked, she was diagnosed schizophrenic. Joyce was left bitter at Jung’s analysis of his daughter — Jung thought that she was too close with her father’s psychic system. In revenge, Joyce played in Finnegan’s Wake with Jung’s of Animus and Anima. Lucia died in a mental hospital in Northampton, England, in 1932. After the fall of France in WW II, Joyce returned to Zurich, where he was taken ill. He was diagnosed of having a perforated duodenal ulcer. Joyce died after an operation, on January 13, 1941, still disappointed with the reception of Finnegan’s Wake, published on 4 May, 1939, by Faber and Faber. His last words were: “Does nobody understand?” Joyce was buried in Zurich at Fluntern Cemetery.