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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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Paperback, Published in Aug 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN10: 0199536449 | ISBN13: 9780199536443

Page count: 289

James Joyce's Portrait of an Artist is one of the most significant literary works of the twentieth century, and one of the most innovative. Its originality shocked contemporary readers on its publication in 1916 who found its treating of the minutiae of daily life as indecorous, and its central character unappealing. Was it art or was it filth?
The novel charts the intellectual, moral, and sexual development of Stephen Dedalus, from his childhood listening to his father's stories through his schooldays and adolescence to the brink of adulthood and independence, and his awakening as an artist. Growing up in a Catholic family in Dublin in the final years of the nineteenth century, Stephen's consciousness is forged by Irish history and politics, by Catholicism and culture, language and art. Stephen's story mirrors that of Joyce himself, and the novel is both startlingly realistic and brilliantly crafted, not to mention that it is one of the founding texts of Modernism and the precursor of the acclaimed Ulysses.
For this edition Jeri Johnson, an eminent Joyce scholar, has written an introduction and notes which together provide a comprehensive and illuminating appreciation of Joyce's artistry.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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