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About the Author: James Joyce

James Joyce, Irish novelist, noted for his experimental use of language in such works as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce's technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions.

James Joyce was born in Dublin, on February 2, 1882, as the son of John Stanislaus Joyce, an impoverished gentleman, who had failed in a distillery business and tried all kinds of professions, including politics and tax collecting. Joyce's mother, Mary Jane Murray, was ten years younger than her husband. She was an accomplished pianist, whose life was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. In spite of their poverty, the family struggled to maintain a solid middle-class facade.

From the age of six Joyce, was educated by Jesuits at Clongowes Wood College, at Clane, and then at Belvedere College in Dublin (1893-97). In 1898 he entered the University College, Dublin. Joyce's first publication was an essay on Ibsen's play When We Dead Awaken. It appeared in the Fortnightly Review in 1900. At this time he also began writing lyric poems.

After graduation in 1902 the twenty-year-old Joyce went to Paris, where he worked as a journalist, teacher and in other occupations under difficult financial conditions. He spent a year in France, returning when a telegram arrived saying his mother was dying. Not long after her death, Joyce was traveling again. He left Dublin in 1904 with Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid who he married in 1931.

Joyce published Dubliners in 1914, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in 1916, a play Exiles in 1918 and Ulysses in 1922. In 1907 Joyce had published a collection of poems, Chamber Music.

At the outset of the First World War, Joyce moved with his family to Zürich. In Zürich Joyce started to develop the early chapters of Ulysses, which was first published in France because of censorship troubles in the Great Britain and the United States, where the book became legally available only in 1933. In March 1923 Joyce started in Paris his second major work, Finnegans Wake, suffering at the same time chronic eye troubles caused by glaucoma. The first segment of the novel appeared in Ford Madox Ford's transatlantic review in April 1924, as part of what Joyce called Work in Progress. The final version was published in 1939.

Some critics considered the work a masterpiece, though many readers found it incomprehensible. After the fall of France in WWII, Joyce returned to Zürich, where he died on January 13, 1941, still disappointed with the reception of Finnegans Wake.


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Goodreads rating: 3.73

Paperback, Published in Jan 2010 by Wordsworth

ISBN10: 1840226358 | ISBN13: 9781840226355

Page count: 732

Ulysses has been labeled dirty, blasphemous & unreadable. In a 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolsey declared it an emetic book--tho he found it sufficiently unobscene to allow its importation into the USA--& Virginia Woolf was moved to decry Joyce's "cloacal obsession." None of these adjectives, however, do the slightest justice to the novel. To this day it remains the modernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism & vulgarity to splendid extremes. It's funny, sorrowful, even (in a close-focus sort of way) suspenseful. Despite the exegetical industry that has sprung up in the last 75 years, Ulysses is also a compulsively readable book. Even the verbal vaudeville of the final chapters can be navigated with relative ease, as long as you're willing to be buffeted, tickled, challenged & (occasionally) vexed by Joyce's sheer command of English. Among other things, a novel is simply a long story. The 1st question about any story is: What happens?. In this case, the answer might be Everything. Wm Blake, one of literature's sublime myopics, saw the universe in a grain of sand. Joyce saw it in Dublin, on 6/16/1904, a day distinguished by its utter normality. Two characters, Stephen Dedalus & Leopold Bloom, go about their separate business, crossing paths with a gallery of indelible Dubliners. We watch them teach, eat, stroll the streets, argue & (in Bloom's case) masturbate. Thanks to the stream-of-consciousness technique--which suggests no mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river--we're privy to their thoughts, emotions & memories. The result? Almost every variety of experience is crammed into the accordian folds of a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimental work but the very last word in realism. Both characters add their glorious intonations to the music of the prose. Dedalus' accent--that of a freelance esthetician, who dabbles here & there in what we might call Early Yeats Lite--will be familiar to readers of Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. But Bloom's wistful sensualism (& naive curiosity) is something else entirely. Seen thru his eyes, a rundown corner of a graveyard is a figure for hope & hopelessness, mortality & dogged survival: "Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland's hearts & hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybody really?"--James Marcus (edited)

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Compare book prices with SocialBookco. Get Ulysses by James Joyce at the best price. This book is for ISBN 9781840226355 which is a Paperback copy Published in Jan 2010 by Wordsworth.