Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
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Monday, January 13, 2014
Irish Novelist James Joyce Died - 1941
On January 13, 1941, James Joyce died in Zurich,
Switzerland, at the age of 58. One of the most brilliant and daring writers of
the 20th century, Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses is ranked among the
greatest works in the English literature. He was born in Dublin in 1882, and grew
up in poor surroundings and was educated at Jesuit-run schools and the
University College in Dublin. He wrote poetry and short prose passages that he
called "epiphanies," a term he used to describe the sudden revelation
of the true nature of a person or thing. In 1902, he went to Paris but returned
to Dublin in the next year when his mother fell ill. There he began writing the
experimental Stephen Hero, a largely autobiographical work. For the Irish
Homestead, he also wrote several Irish-themed short stories, which were
characterized by tragic epiphanies and spare but precise writing.
In 1904, Joyce left Ireland with companion Nora Barnacle
and lived in Poland, Austria-Hungary, Trieste, and Rome, where he fathered two
children with Nora and worked. He spent his spare time writing and composing
several other short stories that would join his earlier works to form Dubliners,
first published in 1914. The most acclaimed of the 15 stories is "The
Dead," which tells the story of a Dublin schoolteacher and his wife, and
of their lost dreams. During this time, he also drastically reworked Stephen
Hero and renamed it A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. With
the Italian entrance into World War I, he moved to Zurich with his family.
Faced with severe financial difficulties, he found patrons in Edith Rockefeller
McCormick and Harriet Shaw Weaver, editor of Egoist magazine. In 1916,
Weaver published A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which received
significant critical acclaim. Soon after, the American Little Review
began to publish episodes from Ulysses, a novel that Joyce began in
1915. The sexually explicit work was banned in the United States in 1920 after
only a few installments. Two years later, Sylvia Beach, a bookstore owner in
Paris, published it in its entirety.
Ulysses brought Joyce international fame, and the
work's groundbreaking literary forms, including stream-of-consciousness
writing, were an immediate influence on novelists the world over. The action of
the novel takes place in Dublin on a single day but parallels the epic 10-year
journey described in Homer's Odyssey. Although colored with numerous
allusions, the strength of Ulysses rests not in its intellectual
complexity but in its depth of characterization, breadth of humor, and overall
celebration of life. Joyce spent more than 17 years on his last work, published
in 1939 as Finnegans Wake. His most difficult work, Joyce carried his
literary experimentation to its furthest point in this novel, which uses words
from different languages to embody a cyclical theory of human existence.
Because many find it difficult and inaccessible, Finnegans Wake is not
as highly regarded as his earlier works. Joyce lived in Paris from 1920 to
1940, but he moved back to Zurich after France fell to the Germans. In addition
to his three major works, he also published several collections of verse and a
play called Exiles.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Literary Legends of the British Isles: The
Lives and Burial Places of 50 Great Writers. The book can be purchased from
Amazon through the following links: