James Joyce

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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 Exilesin 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.

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 the interior monologue and the free direct speech that are words uttered by a speaker without quotation marks, parody, jokes, epiphany that is a momet in which characters can understand the truth, interior monologue with two levels of narration, a device used to give a realistic framework to the characters’ formless thoughts, up to extreme interior monologue.Thus language breaks down into a succession of words without punctuation or grammar connections, into infinite puns, and reality becomes the place of our psychological projections, our symbolical archetypes and cultural knowledge. Joyce breaks with the tradition and uses innovative tecniques: interior monologue, mythic method, there isn’t a plot, ma the attention is focused on the point of view of the characters, so he doesn’t show his opinion. These techniques reproduce the situation of modern man. Infact this work was written during the period of the experimentation.The action of the novel, which takes place in a single day, June 16, 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. Mr Bloom is a common man, he represents the anti-hero, the inept, he is tragic and comic at the same time (he brings a potato in the poket). He wonders through the streets (idea of the labyrinth) of Dublin like Ulysses in the Mediterranean sea. Dublin is the setting in place of his works. It is the second largest town after London in the British Empire. He is a Jew and an Irish person this means to be isolated, alienated, saparated. The author wants to say that the condition of the modern man is very difficult. This man is alone. The relationship are not based on love. Everything is overturned to underline th situation of the contemporary man. Leopold Bloom is like a crowd (The waste land). Mr Bloom meets Dedalus that was looking for his father, and he adopts him. Dedalus represents the pure intellect, he is a projectin of the author in the young age. He was escaping from a difficult situation. The complete name is Stephen Dedalus. Stephen is the first cristian martyr, he was stoned to death because he wanted to introduce the new cult in the jew community so he represents the artist that try to introduce a new way of life. Dedalus is a mytological character, he is a craftsman. In the myth he was able to make a pair of wax wines (that represents arts) to escape from the labyrinth. The labyrinth represents the imprisonment, the impossibility to find a way to escape. Like Dedalus creates the wings, the author is able to go away, inventing characters, stories, etc. Mrs Bloom is the anti-Penelope , she cuckolds Mr. Bloom with another man. Molly seems to be the most positive character in the story, because in the end she shows har feelings.
The book explores various areas of Dublin life, dwelling on its squalor and monotony. Joyce gives a portrait of ordinary life of ordinary people. This idea of ordinariness is very important for the concept of anti-hero. Nevertheless, the book is also an affectionately detailed study of the city, and Joyce claimed that if Dublin were to be destroyed in some catastrophe it could be rebuilt, brick by brick, using his work as a model. The “story” takes place in a one day, the 16th of June, in which (in his life) Joyce met the woman of his life nora barnacle; this day is important, because represents a turning point from the life of dissolution that he lead, following the example of his father, before this important date.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. This schematic structure reflects his rigid education. Joyce refers to the myth to underline the differences between the mythic past and the present time, in order to understand better the reality of modern times. The situation is totally different. The mythic past is something that is not in time. Ulysses is one of the most important characters of the myth, he is sharp, intelligent and he is able to be creative. He is totally different from Mr Bloom. The most important themes of this work are two: the impossibility to escape and the contemporary paralysis. People have the sensation to be oppressed (from the church) and they need to escape away from home. But the characters fail to find a way to go away from Ireland. There is the impossibility to change the situation (exiles at home). The causes of the paralysis in Ireland are differents: the church, the politics that is not able to give a selfgovernment, the culture that it isn’t open to Europe and the lack of courage to rebel. According to Joyce the church in Ireland had taken tha place of aristocracy and it was against this form of oppression. But tha conflict was also a conflict between old and young generation, between a son and his parents, infact ha didn’t want to follow the way of life of his father. In the work we find a subjective perception of time, it isn’t chronological, and the novel opens in medias res with the analyses of a particular moment. The reality is described from the point of view of the mind that analys the situation. We can find the same themes also in “Dubliners” and the same style in “The portrait of an artist as a young man” and “Finneganns Wake” becouse both belong to the period of experimentation.