James Joyce was an Irish modernist novelist who is considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He is noted for his experimental use of language and ground breaking writing style. Ulysses, a modern version of Homer’s Odyssey, is his most famous novel.
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born at 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, Dublin in 1882. The eldest of ten children, he was educated at Clongowes Wood College, Co Kildare and Belvedere College, Dublin. Joyce went on to attend University College Dublin (then the Royal University) from where he graduated with a BA degree in modern languages in 1902. He then moved to Paris to study medicine but returned to Dublin a short time later when his mother became ill. His mother died in 1903
Following the death of his mother Joyce stayed in Dublin. He had his first date with his wife-to-be Nora Barnacle on June 16th 1904. The date is now celebrated as Bloomsday which derives its name from Leopold Bloom the principle character in Ulysses. Shortly after they met they left Ireland and moved to Zurich, Switzerland where Joyce had been promised a post as a teacher of English. At the time Nora Barnacle was 20 years old and Joyce was 22.
The teaching post Joyce had been promised in Zurich did not materialise and he and Nora eventually moved the city of Trieste where he secured a teaching post. During their time in Trieste their children Giorgio and Lucia were born. Georgio in 1905 and Lucia in 1907. Whilst teaching Joyce was also writing. His first book ‘Dubliners’, a collection of short stories, was published in 1914. This was followed by ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ in 1916. Joyce visited Ireland on several occasions during the following years making his last visit in 1912. Joyce and his family moved to Zurich shortly after the outbreak of World War 1. He had already begun working on Ulysses and it was eventually published in Paris in 1922.
Almost ten years after the publication of Ulysses James Joyce and Nora Barnacle were married at the Kensington registry in London on July 4th 1931. They had been living together for almost 27 years. They married, as Joyce put it, for ‘testamentary reasons’. Joyce was by now internationally known. Though it was attempted to keep the event as secret as possible, the wedding attracted considerable attention.
Following the Nazi occupation of France the Joyce family moved back to Zurich in late 1940. Joyce underwent an operation for a perforated ulcer on January 11th 1941 at the Schwesternhause von Roten Kreuz Hospital in Zurich. He died two days later at the age of 59 and is buried in Fluntern cemetery in Zurich.
James Joyce was born in the year 1882 On This Day.
James Joyce bust in St Stephen’s Green by Anosmia