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James Joyce
Born in Dublin, educated at Clongowes College, County Kildare, and Belvedere College, Dublin, he graduated in modern languages from University College Dublin in 1902.

Dissatisfied with the provinciality of Irish life, Joyce went to Paris in 1902, using the great libraries there to read widely in world literature. He returned to Dublin in 1903, due to his mother's death. The following year, a chance meeting in the street led to his lifelong attachment to Nora Barnacle, whom he married in 1931. With Nora, he moved to Zurich, and found work teaching English to the citizens of Trieste, in 1905. He worked hard at developing his writing, focusing from the beginning on the streets and people of his native Dublin. Difficulties with Irish publishers due to references to the British Royal Family caused Joyce to withdraw the Dubliners and have it published in London. His first novel, a fictionalized autobiography, began life as Stephen Hero, but was eventually reworked and published as Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, where the role of the youthful Joyce is played by one Stephen Dedalus.

Joyce had to leave Trieste, which lay within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on the outbreak of WWI, and he returned to Zurich, where he worked on his next novel, Ulysses, supported by funding aquired for him by Ezra Pound and W.B.Yeats. Like the Portrait, this long experimental novel first appeared in serial form, but this time the journal in question, The Little Review of New York, was prosecuted for publishing obscene matter. Publication in book form came at last in Paris, where Joyce and Nora had settled, together with their two children, Lucia and Giorgio. Copies of the book were seized by the British Customs, and those which reached the U.S. were burned by the postal authorities.

Joyce immediately began work on his next, even more radically innovative novel. Twelve installments of it appeared under the name Work in Progress between 1928 and 1937. The final years of work on this book, eventually revealed under the title Finnegans Wake, were very difficult for Joyce, as lifelong trouble with his eyes brought him close to total blindness, and his daughter Lucia was diagnosed as schizophrenic. The outbreak of WWII forced the family to move once more to Switzerland, where Joyce succumbed following surgery for a duodenal ulcer .

While Joyce's poetry and his one play, Exiles, were conventional in their form, his career in fiction was marked throughout by a radical rethinking and reworking of the form. The early lyrical 'epiphanies' of Dubliners gather into longer more substantial narratives in the Portrait and Ulysses, to the extent that Joyce could boast that were Dublin to be destroyed, it could be rebuilt, brick by brick, from the pages of Ulysses. About half-way through that long story of a day in the lives of Stephen Dedalus and a middle-aged Jewish salesman called Leopold Bloom, Joyce appears to lose interest in the realist novel he has been writing, and begins to construct quite another, unprecedented, type of narrative. This reworking goes deeper and further in the Wake, where language itself is remade as the matrix from which all stories and all characters emerge.

Though all of Joyce's writing is distinguished by an extreme attunement to the beauty and subtlety of language, it is perhaps the humour and sympathetic humanity of his work which have drawn so many readers to it throughout the century. Joyce claimed that comedy was a superior form to tragedy, and his greatest books show why.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1915)
Ulysses (1922)
Finnegans Wake (1939)

Exiles (1918)

Chamber Music (1907)
Pomes Pennyeach (1927)

Short Stories:
Dubliners (1914) )