Born James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882 - 1941) James Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet. His psychological perceptions and innovative literary techniques made him one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. He was born in Dublin, the son of an impoverished civil servant. Although middle class, his family quickly lost that distinction with his father's alcoholism, they began a steady downward slope. Educated at Jesuit schools, he was raised to be Roman Catholic but broke with the church while in college. In 1904 he left Ireland with a chambermaid named Nora Barnacle. The two finally married and had two children. They lived in Trieste, Italy, Paris and Zurich, Switzerland. They eked out a living on his salary as a language instructor and gifts from patrons.
In 1907 James Joyce was struck with iritis. This was the first of the severe eye troubles that left him almost blind. After living in Paris for twenty years, Joyce took his family to Zurich just after the start of World War II for their safety. He lived there until his death in 1941. Most of his stories are set in his fictional Ireland, which is populated with caricatures of family members and people from his Irish community. He said that he always wrote on Dublin, because if he could get to the heart of Dublin, he could get to the heart of any city.
Joyce's early works consisted mostly of essays and poetry. His first book, Chamber Music, published in 1907, consisted of thirty-six love poems. The poetry showed a preference for Elizabethan James Joyce's book, Dubliners, is comprised of fifteen short stories, that all tie in together as stories set with the middle class. The book is broken up into three groups. Childhood, adulthood and old age. His first long work of fiction was The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and is largely autobiographical. It recreates his home life as a child in his character, Stephan Dedalus.
He became internationally famous after his publication of Ulysses, in 1922. Based on Homer's Odyssey, it tells the story about a twenty-four hour period in the life of a Jewish Irishman. It also tells of the same day in the life of Stephan Dedalus. Then the two characters meet at the end. "Finnegan's Wake" was the last novel by James Joyce. It was also his most complex. It is an attempt to embody in fiction a cyclical theory of history. The novel is written in the form of an interrupted series of dreams of the Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, during one night. Joyce uses various historical figures and mythological creatures in the book.
James Joyce used symbols to create what he called and "epiphany". The revelation of certain inner qualities. Using experimental techniques to convey the essential nature of realistic situations, Joyce merged in his greatest works the literary tradition of realism, naturalism, and symbolism. Thus, the earlier writings reveal individual moods and characters and the plight of Ireland and the Irish artist in the early nineteen hundreds.