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Life And Times Of James Joyce

3104 words - 12 pages

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in a wealthy suburb of Ireland just south of Dublin on February 2, 1882. The Joyce family was considered of the upper class and had blood lines that could be traced back to old Irish nobility in the country. Their "noble" blood did not prove to be enough to maintain their social status, the family's position in society steadily declined as James Joyce aged, and he was constantly moving to more modest residences, a main cause of this was due to James' father, John Joyce, who had problems with unemployment. John Joyce was an Irish Catholic who had issues with alcohol and managing money. James Joyce's father was considered a patriot, and his influences are very evident in Joyce's work, especially A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. In 1888 a young Joyce was sent to what was considered one of the top preparatory schools in Ireland, a Jesuit institution, Clongowes. After completion at Clongowes Joyce went on to Belvedere, which was located in Dublin. He then enrolled in Royal University, or as it is better known, University College to complete his education. Joyce's years at Clongowes are depicted in his work through Stephen Dedalus. The character does attend the school at a different time than his creator, but it is Clongowes that Joyce chose for Stephen to attend. James Joyce became increasingly interested in a group of people known as the "Irish Literary Renaissance" and in turn became disapproving of Ireland's traditional elements, the most prominent of these elements being the Catholic Church.

At the age of twenty Joyce left Ireland and went to study medicine in Paris, France. He did not return to Ireland until the next year when he received word that his Mother was dying. After burying his mother, Mary Jane (May) Murray Joyce, he began teaching in Ireland at a boy's school. Less than a year later, Joyce left Ireland again and eventually settled in Zurich. During this time Joyce met Nora Barnacle, who he eventually had two children with, although they did not marry until much later. Another important influence in Joyce's life was his younger brother, Stanislaus Joyce. The writer relied on the support of his brother for financial assistance and emotional support throughout his entire life. Joyce later placed himself in exile from Ireland and began to write Ulysses while living in Paris. He continued to live in France until the outbreak of World War II when he and his family were allowed to move to Switzerland. James Joyce died of a stomach ulcer in 1941, after having survived several eye surgeries that hindered his sight greatly. He was buried in Zurich at their Fluntern Cemetery. Due to the failure of Joyce's last book, Finnegans Wake, his prestige had faltered at the time of his death and it was not until the decades after his death that James Joyce was recognized as a forbearer in Modernism who had written arguably the best book of the twentieth century...

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