James Joyce Biography

James Joyce was an acclaimed Irish author. This biography offers detailed information about his childhood, life, works, achievements and timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: February 2, 1882

Nationality: Irish

Famous: Quotes By James Joyce Poets

Died At Age: 58

Sun Sign: Aquarius

Also Known As: James Augustine Aloysius Joyce

Born in: Rathgar, Dublin

Famous as: Writer


Spouse/Ex-: Nora

father: John Stanislaus Joyce

mother: Mary Jane

siblings: Stanislaus Joyce

children: Lucia

Died on: January 13, 1941

place of death: Zürich

City: Dublin, Ireland

Diseases & Disabilities: Visual Impairment

More Facts

education: Jesuit schools Clongowes BelvedereUniversity College Dublin

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James Joyce was one of the most influential writers in the early part of the 20th century. This Irish poet, short story writer, novelist and playwright is known for his modernist avant-garde style of writing that focused on literary innovation, narrative and indirect style. In his seminal work, ‘Ulysses', he perfected the literary technique of ‘stream of consciousness', which refers to the thought process of the narrator. He was also known for the experimental use of language and made many technical discoveries in the art of novel writing, like the use of interior monologue. Some of his well-known works include, ‘Finnegans Wake’, 'Dubliners', 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' and 'Pomes Penyeach'. Apart from this, he also authored three books of poetry, gained some experience in journalism and authored a play. As a young boy, he loved to read and developed a passion for writing and literature. While his writing is based on Dublin, his fictional characters resemble people he knew in real life. The explicit content in his writings resulted in landmark decisions on obscenity.

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Childhood & Early Life
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  • In 1904, along with his love interest Nora Barnacle, he moved to Zurich, Switzerland, and later went to the Italian seaport city of Trieste. He taught English there.
  • In May 1907, he published his book, ‘Chamber Music', which was a collection of poems. The book had a collection of 36 poems, all of which are based on the theme of love.
  • From 1909, he continued to write and work on the manuscript of the book, ‘Dubliners'. He also started to look for publishers. He opened the cinema house, ' Volta Cinematograph'.
  • In 1914, he published his book, ‘Dubliners', which was a collection of short stories. The stories carefully analysed the facets of Dublin society during the early 20th century.
  • In 1916, he came out with his first novel titled, ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'. The novel had a sort of coming-of-age plot but was not commercially successful. He however, earned praise for his style of writing.
  • In 1918, he authored the play, ‘Exiles’, which was based on the life of an acclaimed writer, who comes back to Dublin after spending nine years in exile. This play was inspired by one of his short stories.
  • Around 1918, serial forms of his novel ‘Ulysses' was published in the magazine, ‘The Little Review'. The publication faced many censorship problems for alleged explicit content.
  • In 1922, his Modernist novel, ‘Ulysses' was published by Sylvia Beach, who owned the well-known bookshop, ‘Shakespeare and Company'. An English version was published but it again faced censorship problems.
  • In 1927, he came out with his book of poems titled, ‘Pomes Penyeach', which contained thirteen short poems. He took twenty years to write this collection of poems.
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  • It was not until the 1933 that ‘Ulysses' was published in the United States of America, after being ruled out for pornographic content. This book gained criticism but at the same time it also earned praise for his style of writing.
  • In 1939, he came out with his work of comic prose titled, ‘Finnegans Wake’. This work is known for its experimental style and is regarded as one among the most difficult works of fiction to read.
Major Works
  • His book, ‘Finnegans Wake’ is regarded as one of the finest works in English literature. It was ranked number 77 on the Modern Library (an American publishing house) list of ‘100 best English-language novels of the 20th century'.
  • His novel, ‘Ulysses' is revered as one of the most significant works in the genre of modernist literature. It was ranked number one on the Modern Library (an American publishing house) list of ‘100 best English-language novels of the 20th century'
Personal Life & Legacy
  • After he was attacked by a dog in his childhood, this famous author started suffering from cynophobia (abnormal fear of dogs). This continued all through his life.
  • He suffered from Astraphobia, fear of thunder and lightning
  • In 1904, he met a woman named Nora Barnacle, who at that time was employed as a chamber maid. They eloped later and eventually married and had two children.
  • Around 1920, eye problems started to affect his health. He was treated and underwent surgery for the same.
  • It is believed that he suffered from schizophrenia.
  • In 1941, he was operated for perforated ulcer. Though he showed signs of recovery, he went into a severe coma and eventually died the following day. He was laid to rest at the Fluntern Cemetery near Zurich Zoo.
  • In 1999, ‘Time’ magazine named him to be one of the ‘100 Most Important People of the 20th century'.
  • A statue of him was installed in North Earl Street, Dublin.
  • The scholarly publication, ‘James Joyce Quarterly' is named after him.
  • His work and life is celebrated annually on June 16 as 'Bloomsday' in Dublin and other parts of the world.

See the events in life of James Joyce in Chronological Order

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- James Joyce Biography
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James Joyce

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