James Joyce - His life and work

Essay by duku2004University, Bachelor'sA, May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Downloaded 52 times

James Joyce was born in Dublin, son of a talented but feckless father who is accurately described by Stephen Dedalus in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man". The elder Joyce drifted steadily down the financial and sociale scale, his family moving from house to house, each one less genteel and more shary than the previous. James Joyce's whole education was Catholic.

From a comparatively early age Joyce regarded himself as a rebel against the shabbiness and Philistinism of Dublin. In his early youth he was very religious, but in his last year at Belvedere he began to reject his Catholic faith in favor a literary mission which he saw as involving rebellion and exile. By 1902, when he received his B.A. degree he was already committed to a career as exile and writer. For Joyce the later implied the former. To preserve his integrity, to avoid involvement in popular sentimentalities and dishonesties, and above all to be able to re-create with both total understanding and total objectivity the Dublin life he knew so well, he felt that he had to go abroad.

Proud, obstinate, absolutely convinced of his genius, given to fits of sudden gaiety and of sudden silence, Joyce was not always an easy person to get on with, yet he never lacked friends and throughout his 36 years at first. Joyce's almost life-long exile from his native Ireland has something paradoxical about it. No writer has ever been soaked in Dublin, its atmosphere, its history, its topography; in spite of doing most of his writing in Trieste, Zurich and Paris, he wrote only and always about Dublin. Indeed that was his life's work: to write about Dublin in such a way that he was writing about all of human experience. Some of...