James Joyce


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James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882 – 1941) is one of Ireland’s most influential and celebrated writers. His most famous work is Ulysses (1922), which follows the movements of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus throughout Dublin on a single day, 16 June 1904. Some of Joyce’s other major works include the short story collection Dubliners (1914), the play Exiles (1918), the collection of poetry Chamber Music (1907) and Pomes Penyeach (1927), and the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939).

Joyce was born in Dublin on 2 February 1882 at 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, a suburb south of Dublin. Joyce’s father was John Stanislaus Joyce, and his mother was Mary Jane “May” (née Murray). He was the eldest of ten children.

He attended school at Clongowes Wood College and Belvedere College (just up the road from the Centre) before going on to University College, then located on St Stephen’s Green, where he studied modern languages.

After graduating from university, Joyce went to Paris, ostensibly to study medicine, and was recalled to Dublin in April 1903 because of his mother's illness and subsequent death. He stayed in Ireland until 1904. In June of that year, he met Nora Barnacle, the Galway woman who was to become his partner and later his wife. Their first date was on 16 June 1904, a date that Joyce would memorialize as the setting of Ulysses and is now popularly known as “Bloomsday.” 

In August 1904, the first of Joyce’s short stories was published in the Irish Homestead magazine, followed by two others. Still, in October, Joyce and Nora left Ireland, going first to Pola (now Pula, Croatia), where Joyce got a job teaching English at a Berlitz school. After he left Ireland in 1904, Joyce only made four return visits, the last of those in 1912, after which he never returned to Ireland.

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