James Joyce

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James Joyce (1882 - 1941)

James Joyce was an Irish writer and poet, and perhaps one of the most significant writers of 20th century. Born into a well-off Catholic family in Dublin, the family suffered a set-back in their fortunes, and slid into poverty. During his university years, he rejected Catholicism, instead pursuing literature.

He left the city in 1904, running off with the chambermaid Nora Barnacle, to spend the rest of his life on the Continent.

His Irish experiences are essential to his writings which are exclusively on Irish subjects. The early volume of short stories, Dubliners, is a penetrating analysis of the stagnation of Dublin society.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, largely autobiographical, shows the process of attaining maturity and self-consciousness by a young gifted man. The main character is Stephen Dedalus. In this novel some glimpses of Joyce's later technique can be noticed, in the use of interior monologue and in the concern with the psychic rather than external reality.

In Ulysses, Joyce employs the stream of consciousness technique to present his characters. The novel, which occurs in a single day, sets the ancient myth of Ulysses, Penelope and Telemachus in modern Dublin and impersonates them in the characters of Mr. Bloom, his wife Molly and Stephen Dedalus, parodistically contrasted with their lofty models. The book explores various areas of Dublin life, dwelling on its squalor and monotony. Joyce employs a variety of literary styles to suit his purpose.

His 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 language.

His works are :

See also :
literature, English literature