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James Joyce

Dublin 1882 - Zürich 1941


The author James Joyce was born on February 2, 1882 in Dublin. He was the oldest of twelve children born to John Stanislaus Joyce and his wife Mary Jane. Joyce's childhood was marked by constant moves and persistent financial difficulties. The children received a strict Catholic education.
James was supposed to become a priest. He attended several Jesuit schools, and studied philosophy and languages at the University College, Dublin. Announcing his intention to study medicine, Joyce moved to Paris in 1902.
This is where he first came into contact with the literature of Symbolism and Realism. Because of financial reasons, Joyce had to return to Dublin.
He worked as a teacher and the next year he met his future wife, Nora Barnacle, with whom he would leave his homeland forever.
In 1914 Joyce published his first literary work, "The Dubliners," a volume of short stories. His short autobiographical novel "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" appeared in 1916 and became a source for his masterpiece "Ulysses," very controversial during Joyce's lifetime.
A preview of "Ulysses" appeared in the "Little Review," and a censored version was published in 1922. Joyce broke all previous linguistic conventions with the forms of expression in this novel. It was considered outrageous and scandalous to contemporaries, who objected to the sexually charged language.
His late work, "Finnegan's Wake," which appeared in 1939, was considered by contemporary critics as unreadable, due to the complexity and opacity of the form and content. Joyce married Nora in 1931 and they lived with their two children all over Europe, in Pula, Triest, Zurich, Paris, and London.
Joyce worked as a journalist and language teacher for the Berlitz schools during this time. Joyce was financially supported much of his life by his brother Stanislaus and by his patroness Harriet Shaw Weaver.
Almost blind and suffering from the complications of an operation on a perforated ulcer, James Joyce died on January 13, 1941 in Zurich.


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