Authors We Love: James Joyce

James Joyce | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica

James Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish writer and poet. He was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century and one of the founders of postmodern literature. His works and stream of consciousness had a great influence on the world of literature. He has lived in Paris since 1920. He moved from place to place throughout Europe, teaching English and writing for a living. In his later years, he suffered from eye diseases and nearly lost his sight. His works are complex in structure, peculiar in language and highly original. His main work is a collection of short stories called Dubliners (1914), which describes the daily life of lower citizens and shows the destruction of people’s ideals and hopes by social environment.The autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) describes the psychology of the characters and the world around them with a large number of inner monologues. The masterpiece novel Ulysses (1922) shows the loneliness and pessimism of people in modern society. In his later work, the full-length novel Finnegan’s Wake (1939) borrows the dream to express the ultimate thinking on human existence and destiny, and the language is extremely difficult to understand.

James Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, on February 2, 1882. His father had a strong faith in nationalism and his mother was a devout Catholic. When Joyce was born, the beautiful island nation of Ireland was a British colony, plagued by war and poverty. He had a large family of younger brothers and sisters, but his father favored the talented eldest son and gave him money to buy foreign books, whether the family had enough to eat or not. He grew up at the Catholic church school. Joyce is the youngest of the students. His academic performance is outstanding, and he initially shows extraordinary literary talent. Since the 19th century, the Irish Renaissance movement formed in Dublin with Yeats, Lady Gregory and Singer as the center, and he received the influence directly. Through friends, he was also influenced by the Irish National Independence movement. But what influenced him even more strongly was the emergence of liberal ideas in European literature at the end of the 19th century. Before he graduated from high school, he became suspicious of religion.

In 1898 Joyce entered University College Dublin, where he specialised in philosophy and language. On January 20, 1900, delivered a speech at the Literary and Historical Society of the College on the topic of Drama and Life. On April 1, the Half Moon Review, an English literary magazine, published his review of Ibsen’s work When We Dead Awaken(1899). This article was praised by Ibsen, who was over seventy years old, which encouraged Joyce and strengthened his determination to embark on a literary career. In October 1901, he wrote a self-published essay, The Noisy Times, criticizing the narrow nationalism of Irish theatrical houses.Joyce graduated from University College Dublin in June 1902 with a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages. On October 2, he enrolled in classes at St. Cecilia’s Medical School. However, he only studied here until the beginning of November when he gave up his studies due to financial difficulties.

Joyce’s literary career began in 1904 with a collection of short stories called Dubliners. In a letter to Richards, the publisher, he made it clear that the principle of its creation was to write its own chapter in the moral and spiritual history of our country. This, in fact, became his lifelong literary pursuit. In Joyce’s eyes, Dublin was the centre of paralysis in Ireland, a hopeless country under the double oppression and stranglehold of the British Empire and the Catholic Church. In this city at all times there are numbness, depression, reduced act of living drama. Araby, a short story from Dubliners, reveals the charm of the author’s writing and the beauty of his stream-of-consciousness style novels. At the end of July 1906 he went to Rome as a bank correspondent. Since April 1906, the problem of rewriting a collection of short stories called Dubliners has gone back and forth with Richards. A refusal of publication was received on 30 September.

James Joyce began his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in Dublin in 1908 and finished it in Trieste, Italy, in 1914, which lasted for 10 years. The novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has a strong autobiographical color. Through the story of Stephen Dedalus, Joyce actually raises the issue of the relationship between artists and society and life. Stephen Dedalus himself was exactly what he was trying to escape from the world of Dublin, which had taken its revenge on rebellious young artists. Ulysses, a novel written in 1922, borrowed the framework of the Ancient Greek epic, The Odyssey and compared it to character Bloom wandering in Dublin for 18 hours a day as opposed to Odysseus’s 10 years of wandering on the sea, giving Ulysses a generality of modern epic. Through the life of these three people in one day, the novel shows their whole history, their whole spiritual life and their inner world incisively and vividly.

Finnegan’s Wake, a novel published in 1939, borrows the idea of the world circulating in four different social forms from the Italian ideologist Vico in the 18th century, and develops a complex content within this framework. The book is a metaphor for the Bible, Shakespeare, ancient religion, modern history, Dublin local chronicles and so on. It borrows a lot of foreign words and even makes up its own words. Through exaggerated association, it describes the history of Ireland and even the whole mankind and the movement of the whole universe. In addition to the above three works, Joyce also wrote the poetry anthology Chamber Music and the play Exiles.

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