biografía        bibliografía



On 2 February 1882, James Joyce was born at 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, Dublin. He was the eldest surviving son of John Stanislaus Joyce, rate collector, and Mary Jane Joyce (née Murray). Of the fifteen children in the family, only ten survived infancy; among these Joyce had the closest relationship with his brother Stanislaus, born 17 December 1884.


In April the Joyces moved from Brighton Square to 23 Castlewood Avenue, Rathmines.


The Joyce family moved to Bray.


September: Joyce was sent to Clongowes Wood College (Jesuit), where he remained until June 1891, returning home only for holidays. On 26 June, Joyce performed in concert with his parents at the Bray Boat Club.


Fired by the death of Parnell on 6 October, Joyced wrote a verse broadside, his first printed work, with the title of Et Tu, Healy. It celebrated the dead hero and attacked his chief political enemies. No copy survives.
Joyce was withdrawn from Clongowes; probably for reasons of ill-health rather than a decline in John’s fortunes, which had not yet begun.


Moneylenders brought actions against John. He had given little satisfaction as a collector for the corporation. His pro-Parnellism brought him little consideration. Over this and the following year he lost his job and received an unfair pension in compensation. Although financial decline had not apparently caused Joyce’s withdrawal from Clongowes, this decline prevented him from returning. A creditor seized the Joyce furniture and the Joyces left Blackrock for a dwelling in the city.
Probably Joyce’s first visit to the theatre where he saw a Christmas pantomime, Sinbad the Sailor.

Fr. John Conmee arranged that James was admitted free with his brother Stanislaus to Belvedere College, also a Jesuit school, from April 1893. He made a brilliant record, winning several prizes in the intermediate examinations. Also in 1893 John is forced to sell his Cork properties to satisfy his debt to Reuben Dodd. James went to Cork with his father although this may have been his second trip. (He may have gone with his father to his uncle’s funeral in 1892.)


Early June: Joyce family moved from Fitzgibbon Street to a small villa in Drumcondra. Sometime after the death of the infant Frederick in early August, a drunken John Joyce attempted to kill his wife.


December 7: Joyce elected to Sodality of Our Lady.


Early summer: The Joyces moved to North Richmond Street. Fall: Joyces moved to Windsor Avenue. The family will stay at this address until summer, 1899. John Joyce will take advantage of a technicality and pay rent for only one quarter (the landlady’s son was Hugh C. Love). April 13: John Kelly (Mr Casey in A Portrait) dies. September 25: Joyce elected prefect of Sodality. November 16: Mrs Conway (Dante Riordan of A Portrait and Ulysses) dies. This year: “Trust not Appearances”.


Mrs Joyce had a miscarriage. This was her last pregnancy.


Joyce made a very creditable translation of “O fons Bandusiae” of Horace. January 12: death of Philip McCann, Joyce’s godfather and possibly the source of the money that saw Joyce through the remainder of his formal education. May 19: death of Gladstone. May 28: performance of Anstey’s Vice Versa. Late July: Joyce encountered the “bird girl.” August 8-13: Joyce’s first encounter with a prostitute? (Ellmann gives 1896.) “Force,” “The Study of Languages.” (1898/1899)


Joyces lived for the summer in a house on Convent Avenue, and in the Fall moved to a house on Richmond Avenue. May 8: premier of Yeat’s The Countess Cathleen. May 27: Stanislaus admitted to Sodality of Our Lady. He will later become prefect. Fall: beginning of Boer War. October: Childs Murder trial. December 16: Joseph Chamberlain braved demonstrations to receive honorary degree from Trinity but was obliged to flee. “Royal Hibernian Academy Ecce Homo.”


Joyce participated in students’ production of Cupid’s Confidant. April 15: Joyce and his father made short trip to London. May: Joyces moved from Richmond Avenue to Royal Terrace. (A neighbor was Mervyn Archdall Browne, see “The Dead.”) Joyce visited London alone. He, Stanislaus and John visited Mullingar where John was to revise the electoral list. They probably stayed at the house of a photographer that rented rooms. Joyce wrote a play called My Brilliant Career; it is now lost. August: William Archer read the play and gently rejected it. August 23: murder of Brigid Gannon and the involvement of a policeman named Henry Flower. “Drama and Life;” “Ibsen’s New Drama.”


March: Joyce wrote letter to Ibsen. Joyce and father visited Mullingar. Joyce translated two plays by Hauptmann and offered them for performance to the theater in Dublin but the plays were rejected. He sent a collection of his poems to William Archer but Archer recommended that he not publish them. Joyce wrote and printed at his own expense “The Day of Rabblement,” rejected by the school censor. Fall: Joyces moved to Glengarriff Parade. November 27: Joyce a member and participant in the Academy of St Thomas of Aquinas, inaugurated this date.


March 13: George Joyce fell ill and died, age 14, on 3 May. Joyce refused to make his Easter duty. August 18: Joyce paid Æ a midnight visit. October 2: Joyce signeds up for medical school (St Cecilia’s). Fall: John Joyce made triduum at persuasion of friends. Joyces moved to St Peter’s Terrace in Cabra. John Joyce bought this house by making over most of his pension but he failed to make the payments on subsequent mortgages and was forced to sell the house in 1905. Early October: Joyce hads several bland meetings with Yeats but, impressed with “The Tables of the Law,” he went to Marsh’s Library to read Joachim Abbas. November: Joyce abandoneds studies at St Cecilia. Stanislaus and John worked together during municipal elections. “An Irish Poet;” “George Meredith.”


Begun in the fall of 1898, Joyce’s career at University College, Dublin, was marked by his break with his Catholic background and his emergence as a writer. In May 1899, he refused to join a protest against the heresy of Yeat’s Countess Cathleen. On 20 January 1900 he read a paper on “Drama and Life” before the Literary and Historical Society; his essay on “Ibsen’s New Drama” (When We Dead Awaken) was published in the Fortnightly Review for April 1900; a pamphlet, “The Day of the Rabblement,” attacking the parochialism of the Irish Literary Theatre, was written on 15 October 1901; an essay on “James Clarence Mangan” was published in May 1902. (Its vocal presentation was well enough received but Hugh Kennedy used the occasion to attack Joyce’s ideas.)
After receiving his degree on 31 October 1902, Joyce considered attending medical school in Dublin, but decided to study in Paris instead. He planned to be both doctor and writer. Leaving Dublin in late November, he stopped briefly in London to see W. B. Yeats, Arthur Symons and various editors, then proceeded to Paris. There he quickly abandoned his medical studies, but lived the life of a Bohemian student, fascinated by the scene and usually its hungriest observer. He met Patrick Casey (Kevin Egan). Twenty-three book reviews by him appeared in a Dublin newspaper from 11 December 1902 to 19 November 1903. He returns to Dublin for the Christmas holidays.


17 January: Joyce returned to Paris with a long stop-over in London. 13 February: Joyce began notes on aesthetics. He met Synge. The Siamese student described in Ulysses was named Chown. At Tours Joyce bought a copy of Dujardin’s We'll to the Woods No More.  In April his mother’s last illness began; on receipt of an urgent telegram from his father, Joyce returned to Dublin. Mary Jane Joyce died on 13 August.
Fall: Joyce moved to the Waverly House. “Today and Tomorrow in Ireland,” “A Suave Philosophy,” “An Effort at Precision in Thinking,” “ Colonial Verses,” “Catalina,” “The Soul of Ireland,” “The Motor Derby,” “Aristotle on Education,” “A Ne”er-do-well,” “Empire Building,” “New Fiction,” “The Mettle of the Pasture,” “A Peep into History,” “A French Religious Novel,” “Unequal Verse,” “Mr. Arnold Grave’s New Work,” “A Neglected Poet,” “Mr. Mason’s Novels,” “The Bruno Philosophy,” “Humanism,” “Shakespeare Explained,” “Borlase and Son,” and from 1903-1904, “Aesthetics.”


On 7 January Joyce wrote an essay-story, “A Portrait of the Artist.”  He also began the first draft of Stephen Hero, a later version of which was published (posthumously) in 1944. He gave Æ the early chapters of the book and Æ asked for stories for the Homestead.
About March Joyce obtained a position as a teacher at the Clifton School, Dalkey, where he remained until the end of June. Until August 31 he lived with a family by the name of McKernan to be close to the school. He then spent a few days with various hosts until he stayed (September 9 to 15) with Gogarty and Trench at the Martello Tower. A few days after he left the tower Alfred Hunter, one of the originals of Leopold Bloom, rescued Joyce from an altercation in which Joyce, abandoned by Cosgrave, received a cut eye. In the Freeman’s Journal of the next day he read about the death of Mrs Sarah Bishop. This provided him with the idea for “A Painful Case.” A few days after leaving the tower he was embroiled in another altercation. Cosgrave abandons him and he was rescued by Alfred Hunter. In late September he returneds to his father’s home on St Peter’s Terrace.
On May 16 he sang at the Feis Ceoil, a musical festival, but failed to win because he could not read music at sight.  About June 10 he met Nora Barnacle, and shortly thereafter, perhaps on June 16 (the day he later choose as the date for Ulysses) fell in love with her. June 22: this attachment did not prevent him from being caught up in thean altercation mentioned above. July 13: Matthew Kane, dead as a result of a heart attack while he was swimming, is buried. (It had been several days before his body was recovered.) Joyce attendeds the funeral. August 13: Joyce (and John McCormack) participated in poorly prepared concert, part of inspiration for “A Mother.” Vincent Cosgrave escorted Nora to the concert.
Opposed to marriage and unable to live openly with Nora in Dublin, he decided to return to the Continent. Before leaving he wrote the satirical broadside, “The Holy Office,” distributed not long after his departure on 8 October. Upon arriving with Nora in Zurich he found that his expected position as teacher at the Berlitz School was not available, and he proceeded to Pola (near the Adriatic) to teach English at the Berlitz School there.
During 1904 his first published poems and stories appeared: early version of  “The Sisters” (in The Irish Homestead) - 13 August; “Eveline” - 10 September; and “After the Race” - 17 December. Joyce began working on “Clay” and was still working on it to November 1906.


In March Joyce was transferred to the Berlitz School in Trieste. Joyces had an apartment on Piazza Ponterosso until late April. On 27 July his son Giorgio was born. Early version of “The Boarding House” was prepared for submission to the Irish Homestead. In September his difficulties with publishers began with the rejection by Grant Richards of Chamber Music. August 25: death of Julia Lyons (Julia Morkan in “The Dead”). In October Stanislaus Joyce, at his brother’s urging, came to live in Trieste. At the end of November the submission of the manuscript of Dubliners to Grant Richards started a contentious correspondence over the book. Joyce wrote “Two Gallants” between the winter of 1905 and sometime in early 1906.


February 24: Joyces moved to an apartment on Via Giovanni Boccaccio. In July Joyce, bored with Trieste, took his wife and son to Rome, where a position in a bank awaited him. They took an apartment on the Via Forattino. September: Gogarty married. Rash of bombing incidents and eviction by landlady added to Joyce’s frustration with Rome. They took another apartment on Via Monte Brianzo where Joyce and Nora adopted the head to toe bed posture. Nora was pregnant. Joyce decided to return to Trieste.


On 17 January he contracted with Elkin Matthews for the publication of Chamber Music. Joyce wrote articles in Italian for a Trieste paper Il Piccolo della Sera: “Ireland, Land of Saints and Scholars,” “James Charles Mangan” (second essay on Mangan), “Fenianism,” “Home Rule Comes of Age,” and “Ireland at the Bar.” March: Joyce, having been robbed before he left Rome, returned to Trieste (apartment on Via S Nicolo), where after a brief spell of teaching at the Berlitz School he found private lessons more profitable. Spring: Joyce wrote “The Dead,” conceived during Roman period but written in Trieste. Early May: Chamber Music was published. July and August: Joyce was ill and confined to a hospital. On 26 July, St Anne’s Day, his daughter Lucia Anna was born. Begins conversion of Stephen Hero to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. November: Joyce moved to Via S Caterina.


Joyce finished A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, chapters 1-3. August 4: Nora miscarried.


April: Joyces moved to apartment on Via Vincenzo Scussa.  On 1 August Joyce returned to Ireland with Giorgio for a visit. Joyce saw Gogarty at a distance but avoided him. The Dublin Joyces now lived on Fontenoy Street. August 6: Vincent Cosgrave told Joyce that he had been sexually successful with Nora. Joyce was in torment until the next day when Byrne convinced him that Cosgrave was lying. At the beginning of September, he signed a contract for the publication of Dubliners by Maunsel & Co. in Dublin. On 9 September he returned to Trieste with Giorgio and Joyce’s sister Eva, and interested some businessmen in starting up cinemas in Ireland. With their backing, he returned to Dublin on 21 October and opened the Cinematographic Volta on 20 December. “Oscar Wilde: The Poet of Salome” and “Bernard Shaw’s Battle with the Censor.”


Unwilling to remain as manager, Joyce returned to Trieste in January, and the Volta was soon after sold. In July Maunsel & Co., suddenly fearful because of the candor of Dubliners, postponed publication of the book. “The Home Rule Comet.”


Eva Joyce returned to Dublin. Mabel Joyce died.


From July to September Joyce made his last trip to Ireland, going to Galway as well as Dublin. He was unable to persuade Maunsel & Co. to publish Dubliners and the printer broke up the type. Joyce’s impressions of Dublin were summarized in the broadside, “Gas from a Burner,” written on his return journey. Joyces moved to a new apartment on Via Donata Bramante. December: death of William Murray. “William Blake,” “The Shade of Parnell,” “The City of the Tribes,” “The Mirage of the Fisherman of Aran,” and “Politics and Cattle Disease.”


Early 1913: Joyce received family portraits from John. Spring-summer: episode that produced Giacomo Joyce.  Through Yeat’s intercession Joyce was brought into communication with Ezra Pound, who interested Miss Dora Marsden, the editor of the Egoist, in his work. Late: Joyce began notes for Exiles.


A lucky year – in January, Grant Richards agreed to publish Dubliners, and did so on 15 June. From 2 February 1914 to 1 September 1915 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was published (thanks to Miss Dora Marsden and subsequently to Miss Weaver, who was to become his patron) in the Egoist (London) in serial form. In March Joyce began work on Ulysses, but put it aside for a time to write Exiles, finished in 1915.


Although his brother was interned because of the war at the beginning of 1915, the Austrian authorities left Joyce undisturbed in Trieste. By June Joyce had written the opening chapters (up to the first pages of Aeolus) of Ulysses. June 21: he was permitted to depart for Switzerland on his word of honor to remain neutral. In August, through the intercession of Pound, Edmund Gosse, and Yeats, he received a gift of money from the Royal Literary Fund.


In September he received a grant from the British Treasury Fund. On 29 December B. W. Huebsch published A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in New York. “Dooleysprudence.”


On 12 February Portrait was published in London. Later this year Joyce received a first gift from Miss Weaver. During this year Joyce’s eye troubles grew worse and made necessary his first eye surgery late in the summer. On 12 October he went to Locarno to recover in the milder climate.


In January Joyce returned to Zurich. Here Mrs Harold McCormick gave him a monthly stipend to enable him to write. Temporarily in funds, he organized, with Claud W. Sykes, the English Players, whose first production, Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, took place on 29 April. A quarrel with the leading actor over salary brought about two inconclusive lawsuits, the first in October 1918, the second in February 1919.
In March the Little Review (New York) began to publish Ulysses in serial form, completing half the book by September 1920. The serialization was as follows: Telemachus (March), Nestor (April), Proteus (May), Calypso (June), Lotus-Eaters (July), Hades, (September) and Aeolus (October).
On 25 May Exiles was published in England and the United States. Joyce met Frank Budgen.
(1918-1919) Programme Notes for the English Players: Barrie, The Twelve Pound Look; Synge, Riders to the Sea; Shaw, The Dark Lady of the Sonnets; and Martyn, The Heather Fields.


Early in the autumn Mrs McCormick withdrew her subsidy, and in October Joyce returned with his family to Trieste. There he taught English at a commercial school and worked hard at Ulysses, parts of which were serialized in the Egoist from January to December. The Little Review serialization continued as follows: Lestrygonians (January and February/March), Scylla and Charybdis (April and May), Wandering Rocks (June and July), Sirens (August and September) and Cyclops (November and  December).


In June Joyce went with his son to Desenzano, Italy, to meet Ezra Pound, who persuaded him to come to live in Paris to promote the publication of his work. The same month the Joyce family moved to Paris. In October the Society for the Suppression of Vice lodged a complaint against the Little Review in New York for publishing certain passages of Ulysses. Until the interruption of publication the series appeared as follows: Cyclops – last installments (January and March), Nausicaa (April, May/June and July/August) and the beginning of Oxen of the Sun (September/December)


The final stages for preparing Ulysses for the public: in April Joyce agreed to have Sylvia Beach publish it in Paris. On 7 December Valery Larbaud, who had read the manuscript, delivered a eulogistic lecture on Ulysses, which, published in the Nouvelle Revue Française in April 1922, set the key for the critical reception.
The progress of the work can be reconstructed. Mid-February: Joyce wrote Eumaeus and sent the last of it to the typist. By August 16 Penelope, originally conceived as extracts from letters by Molly, is fully planned and sent to the printer on October 7. By this date he had recast Aeolus and amplified both Hades and the Lotus-Eaters. Joyce also retouched other episodes although he left the Telemachia almost alone. On October 12 he decided to expand Penelope but he sent a virtually complete Penelope to Larbaud on October 20. On October 20 he finished Ithaca and announced to McAlmon that the work was complete although he continued to revise the last four episodes.


On 2 February, Joyce’s birthday, Ulysses was published.
On 1 April Nora Joyce took the two children to Ireland to visit her mother, but was obliged to leave at once because of the Irish civil war. In May Joyce planned a trip to London but gave it up because of eye trouble. He went there, however, in August (he stayed at the Euston Hotel where Parnell had once stayed), returning to Paris in late September, then in mid-October went to Nice, intending to winter there. Because of pressure of affairs he returned to Paris.


On 10 March Joyce wrote a first sketch for a character in Finnegans Wake, the scene where HCE drinks up the dregs at the end of Part 2, Chapter 4. From late June to mid-August, he and his family went to London, Bognor (on the Sussex coast), and London again. Work on Finnegans Wake proceeded on a patchwork basis with work on Tristan and Isolde (March), St Kevin (June), St Patrick and the Druid (July), Here Comes Everybody, the Cad with the pipe and rumors along with the incorporation of the 1923 sketch with the Tristan and Isolde material (August), the concluding pages of Part 2, Chapter 4 (September), gossip about HCE and the abusive names that he was called, HCE’s emergence and the Festy King trial (November) and the escape of HCE as fox, transition to Anna Livia, the Mamafesta and the book of Kells parody (December).


Another year of severe eye trouble. In April 1924 the first fragment of Finnegans Wake was published in the Transatlantic Review (Paris). From July to mid-August the Joyces were at St Malo and Quimper in Brittainy: they returned to Paris at the beginning of September and late in the month went to London for about three weeks. Gorman’s biography of Joyce (James Joyce: His First Forty Years) was published by B. W. Heubsch. Work on Finnegans Wake: Shem, Part 1, Chapter 7, Anna Livia, Part 1 (January), Chapter 8, beginning of draft for the watches of Shaun March) and Part 3, Chapter 3, Yawn (November).


In July the Criterion (London) published a second fragment from Finnegans Wake. Late in July Joyce was at Fécamp; in August at Arcachon, returning to Paris early in September. On 1 October the Navire d’Argent (Paris) published Anna Livia Plurabelle.
November: Dave the Dancekerl from Part 3, Chapter 2. “Letter on Pound.”


From late July to September at Ostend and Brussels. May: work on Part 3, Chapter 4. October-November: work on Part 1, Chapter 1. December: Shem and Shaun emergent from the trial scene and the reflections of the four old men at its conclusion.


During 1927 Joyce, in a fit of depression over Finnegans Wake and his friends’ comments on it, considered abandoning the book. On 2 February an international protest against the piracy of Ulysses in the United States was promulgated. From April 1927 to May 1938 sections of Finnegans Wake were published in transition (Paris) by Eugene Jolas. In April Joyce went to London to be the guest of honor at a dinner of the P.E.N. Club. He spent May and June at The Hague and Amsterdam. On 5 July Pomes Penyeach was published. July: work on Part 1, Chapter 6.


February: The Ondt and the Gracehoper. In March Joyce went to Dieppe and Rouen; at the end of April he was in Toulon, returning in May. From July to mid-September he was at Salzburg. On 20 October Anna Livia Plurabelle was published in book form. Nora Joyce had a serious but successful operation in November, after their return to Paris. Joyce published parts of Work in Progress in New York to protect the copyright. “Letter on Hardy.”


The French translation of Ulysses was published in February. During July and August Joyce spent a few days in London, a month in Torquay, a few days in Bristol. In August Tales Told of Shem and Shaun was published. Our Exagmination round His Factification for Incamination of His Work in Progress was published. “Letter on Svevo.”


In January Joyce began his efforts, which would last into 1934, to promote the career of John Sullivan, Irish-French tenor. In May and June Dr Alfred Vogt began a series of eye operations on Joyce in Zurich. In June Haveth Childers Everywhere was published. During July and August Joyce was in London, then for a few days in Oxford, and then in Llandudno (Wales). In September he was briefly at Étretat, where he was involved in a motor accident. On 10 December Giorgio Joyce and Helen Kastor Fleischmann were married.


January: The Mime of Mick, Nick and the Maggies. In April Joyce spent a few days at Wiesbaden; at the end of the month he gave up his Paris flat, and in May went to London. He took a flat in Kensington and furnished it, intending to set up an English domicile. On 4 July he and Nora Joyce were married at a registry office in London “for testamentary reasons.” In September they let their London flat and returned to Paris, where they took a furnished flat for the winter. On 29 December Joyce’s father, John Stanislaus Joyce, died in Dublin at the age of 82.


On 15 February a grandson, Stephen James Joyce, was born. In March Lucia Joyce suffered a mental breakdown, the first serious indication of her schizophrenia. The Joyces had planned to go to London in April, but her violent protests broke off the trip. From July to September they were at Zurich, and made a short visit to see Lucia at Feldkirch (Austria), where she was staying with Mrs Eugene Jolas. They then returned to Zurich and after the middle of September went on to Nice, where Lucia joined them. Paul Leon became Joyce’s secretary. “From a Banned Writer to a Banned Singer” and “Ad-Writer.”


In May the Joyces went to Zurich. They spent the summer at Evian (on the lake of Geneva) to take the waters and be near Lucia who was in an institution in the neighborhood. On 6 December Judge John M. Woolsey issued his famous decision on Ulysses, ruling that it was not pornographic and making possible its American publication.


January: work on Lessons (Part 2, Chapter 2). In February Ulysses was published in New York. During March Joyce went on a motor tour with friends to Grenoble, Zurich, and Monte Carlo. In April he went to consult Dr Vogt at Zurich. In May 1934 Giorgio Joyce and his family went to the United States, where they remained until November 1935. In June The Mime of Mick Nick and the Maggies was published. At the end of June Joyce went to Spa, Belgium; in September he traveled to Zurich and Geneva, remaining in Zurich until the end of the year so as to be near Lucia, admitted this year to a maison de santé. Frank Budgen’s James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses was published. “Epilogue to Ibsen’s Ghosts.”


January: work on Kersse and the Norwegian Captain (Part 2, Chapter 3). At the end of January Joyce returned to Paris from Zurich. In February Lucia went to London, and she spent March to July in Dublin, her mind showing increasing signs of strain. From August to December she stayed with Miss Weaver. In September Joyce spent some days at Fontainebleau.


January: work on Butt and Taffe (Part 2, Chapter 3). On 26 July A Chaucer A B C, with initial letters by Lucia Joyce, was published as part of her father’s frantic efforts to make her well. During August and September the Joyces were in Denmark, and also visited Bonn en route. In December Collected Poems was published.


In August the Joyces were in Zurich, in September in Dieppe. In October Storiella as She Is Syung, the last fragment of Finnegans Wake to appear separately in book form, was published. November: The Dawn section (the one chapter of Part 4). “Communication de M. James Joyce sur le Droit Moral des Éscrivins.”


January: Joyce wrote the section of the last chapter that concerned the Letter and Anna’s monologue. From August to September the Joyces were in Zurich and Lausanne.


On 2 February Joyce exhibited a first bound copy of Finnegans Wake, although the book was not officially published in England and America until 4 May. In July the Joyces were at Étretat, in August at Berne; when war was declared they were in Zurich.
Returning to France they stayed at La Baule, to be near Lucia’s maison de santé, from September to December. In December they went to St Gérand-le-Puy, near Vichy.


On 14 December the Joyces left St Gérand-le-Puy for Zurich, after elaborate negotiations for themselves and prolonged but unsuccessful efforts to enable Lucia, whose pepremis de sortir had expired meanwhile, to accompany them. Revised edition of Gorman’s Life published in New York.


Joyce died 13 January, at 2 a.m., in Schwesterhaus vom Roten Kreuz in Zurich, as a result of a perforated ulcer.

— Joyce chronology



Joyce's Irish experiences constitute an essential element of his writings, and provide all of the settings for his fiction and much of their subject matter. His early volume of short stories, "Dubliners", is a penetrating analysis of the stagnation and paralysis of Dublin society. The final and most famous story in the collection, "The Dead," was made into a feature film in 1987, directed by John Huston (it was Huston's last major work).

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is a nearly complete rewrite of the abandoned novel Stephen Hero, the original manuscript of which Joyce partially destroyed in a fit of rage during an argument with Nora. A "Künstlerroman", or story of the personal development of an artist, it is a biographical coming-of-age novel in which Joyce depicts a gifted young man's gradual attainment of maturity and self-consciousness; the main character, Stephen Dedalus, is in many ways based upon Joyce himself. Some hints of the techniques Joyce was to frequently employ in later works — such as the use of interior monologue and references to a character's psychic reality rather than his external surroundings — are evident in this novel. Joseph Strick directed a film of the book in 1977 starring Luke Johnston, Bosco Hogan, T.P. McKenna and John Gielgud.

Exiles and poetry

Despite early interest in the theatre, Joyce published only one play, "Exiles", begun shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and published in 1918. A study of a husband and wife relationship, the play looks back to "The Dead" (the final story in "Dubliners") and forward to "Ulysses", which was begun around the time of the play's composition.

Joyce also published a number of books of poetry. His first mature published work was the satirical broadside "The Holy Office" (1904), in which he proclaimed himself to be the superior of many prominent members of the Celtic revival. His first full-length poetry collection Chamber Music (referring, Joyce explained, to the sound of urine hitting the side of a chamber pot) consisted of 36 short lyrics. This publication led to his inclusion in the Imagist Anthology, edited by Ezra Pound, who was a champion of Joyce's work. Other poetry Joyce published in his lifetime includes "Gas From A Burner" (1912), Pomes Penyeach (1927) and "Ecce Puer" (written in 1932 to mark the birth of his grandson and the recent death of his father). It was published in Collected Poems (1936).


As he was completing work on "Dubliners" in 1906, Joyce considered adding another story featuring a Jewish advertising canvasser called Leopold Bloom under the title "Ulysses". Although he did not pursue the idea further at the time, he eventually commenced work on a novel using both the title and basic premise in 1914. The writing was completed in October, 1921. Three more months were devoted to working on the proofs of the book before Joyce halted work shortly before his self-imposed deadline, his 40th birthday (2 February 1922).

Thanks to Ezra Pound, serial publication of the novel in the magazine The Little Review began in 1918. This magazine was edited by Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, with the backing of John Quinn, a New York attorney with an interest in contemporary experimental art and literature. Unfortunately, this publication encountered censorship problems in the United States; serialization was halted in 1920 when the editors were convicted of publishing obscenity. The novel remained banned in the United States until 1933.

At least partly because of this controversy, Joyce found it difficult to get a publisher to accept the book, but it was published in 1922 by Sylvia Beach from her well-known Rive Gauche bookshop, Shakespeare and Company at 12 Rue l'Odéon. A commemorative plaque placed in 1989 by JJSSF (James Joyce Society of Sweden and Finland) is to be found on the wall. An English edition published the same year by Joyce's patron, Harriet Shaw Weaver, ran into further difficulties with the United States authorities, and 500 copies that were shipped to the States were seized and possibly destroyed. The following year, John Rodker produced a print run of 500 more intended to replace the missing copies, but these were burned by English customs at Folkestone. A further consequence of the novel's ambiguous legal status as a banned book was that a number of 'bootleg' versions appeared, most notably a number of pirate versions from the publisher Samuel Roth. In 1928, a court injunction against Roth was obtained and he ceased publication.

The year 1922 was a key year in the history of English-language literary modernism, with the appearance of both Ulysses and T. S. Eliot's poem, "The Waste Land". In "Ulysses", Joyce employs stream of consciousness, parody, jokes, and virtually every other literary technique to present his characters. The action of the novel, which takes place in a single day, 16 June 1904, sets the characters and incidents of the "Odyssey" of Homer in modern Dublin and represents Odysseus (Ulysses), Penelope and Telemachus in the characters of Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, parodically contrasted with their lofty models. The book explores various areas of Dublin life, dwelling on its squalor and monotony. Nevertheless, the book is also an affectionately detailed study of the city, and Joyce said that "I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book". In order to achieve this level of accuracy, Joyce used the 1904 edition of Thom's Directory — a work that listed the owners and/or tenants of every residential and commercial property in the city. He also bombarded friends still living there with requests for information and clarification.

The book consists of 18 chapters, each covering roughly one hour of the day, beginning around about 8 a.m. and ending sometime after 2 a.m. the following morning. Each of the 18 chapters of the novel employs its own literary style. Each chapter also refers to a specific episode in Homer's Odyssey and has a specific colour, art or science and bodily organ associated with it. This combination of kaleidoscopic writing with an extreme formal, schematic structure represents one of the book's major contributions to the development of 20th century modernist literature. The use of classical mythology as a framework for his book and the near-obsessive focus on external detail in a book in which much of the significant action is happening inside the minds of the characters are others. Nevertheless, Joyce complained that, "I may have oversystematised "Ulysses"," and played down the mythic correspondences by eliminating the chapter titles that had been taken from Homer.

Joseph Strick directed a film of the book in 1967 starring Milo O'Shea, Barbara Jefford and Maurice Roëves. Sean Walsh directed another version released in 2004 starring Stephen Rea, Angeline Ball and Hugh O'Conor.

Finnegans Wake

Having completed work on "Ulysses", Joyce was so exhausted that he did not write a line of prose for a year. On 10 March 1923 he informed a patron, Harriet Weaver: "Yesterday I wrote two pages — the first I have since the final Yes of Ulysses. Having found a pen, with some difficulty I copied them out in a large handwriting on a double sheet of foolscap so that I could read them. "Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio", the Italians say. The wolf may lose his skin but not his vice or the leopard cannot change his spots". Thus was born a text that became known, first, as Work in "Progress" and later "Finnegans Wake".

By 1926 Joyce had completed the first two parts of the book. In that year, he met Eugene and Maria Jolas who offered to serialise the book in their magazine transition. For the next few years, Joyce worked rapidly on the new book, but in the 1930s, progress slowed considerably. This was due to a number of factors, including the death of his father in 1931, concern over the mental health of his daughter Lucia and his own health problems, including failing eyesight. Much of the work was done with the assistance of younger admirers, including Samuel Beckett. For some years, Joyce nursed the eccentric plan of turning over the book to his friend James Stephens to complete, on the grounds that Stephens was born in the same hospital as Joyce exactly one week later, and shared the first name of both Joyce and of Joyce's fictional alter-ego (this is one example of Joyce's numerous superstitions).

Reaction to the work was mixed, including negative comment from early supporters of Joyce's work, such as Pound and the author's brother Stanislaus Joyce. In order to counteract this hostile reception, a book of essays by supporters of the new work, including Beckett, William Carlos Williams and others was organised and published in 1929 under the title "Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress". At his 47th birthday party at the Jolases' home, Joyce revealed the final title of the work and Finnegans Wake was published in book form on 4 May 1939.

Joyce's method of stream of consciousness, literary allusions and free dream associations was pushed to the limit in "Finnegans Wake", which abandoned all conventions of plot and character construction and is written in a peculiar and obscure language, based mainly on complex multi-level puns. This approach is similar to, but far more extensive than that used by Lewis Carroll in "Jabberwocky". If Ulysses is a day in the life of a city, then Wake is a night and partakes of the logic of dreams. This has led many readers and critics to apply Joyce's oft-quoted description in the Wake of "Ulysses" as his "usylessly unreadable Blue Book of Eccles" to the "Wake" itself. However, readers have been able to reach a consensus about the central cast of characters and general plot.

Much of the wordplay in the book stems from the use of multilingual puns which draw on a wide range of languages. The role played by Beckett and other assistants included collating words from these languages on cards for Joyce to use and, as Joyce's eyesight worsened, of writing the text from the author's dictation.

The view of history propounded in this text is very strongly influenced by Giambattista Vico, and the metaphysics of Giordano Bruno of Nola are important to the interplay of the "characters". Vico propounded a cyclical view of history, in which civilisation rose from chaos, passed through theocratic, aristocratic, and democratic phases, and then lapsed back into chaos. The most obvious example of the influence of Vico's cyclical theory of history is to be found in the opening and closing words of the book. "Finnegans Wake" opens with the words 'riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.' ('vicus' is a pun on Vico) and ends 'A way a lone a last a loved a long the'. In other words, the book ends with the beginning of a sentence and begins with the end of the same sentence, turning the book into one great cycle. Indeed, Joyce said that the ideal reader of the "Wake" would suffer from "ideal insomnia" and, on completing the book, would turn to page one and start again, and so on in an endless cycle of reading.

— Biographicon