Main features: he wrote in the XX century, so he was influenced by the French naturalism and the decadence. Thus he used in his works new techniques such as the impersonality of the author, the symbolism, the psychological analysis and the epiphany.
As regard impersonality, Joyce abandons the omniscient narrator of the 19th century and the story is told through differents points of view, that are those of the characters and the language changes adapting to the protagonist. In particular in the "Dubliners" the language develops itself, becoming more complex in the later stories where the protagonists are adults. Moreover in a "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" there are several differences between the language of the first chapter, in which the protagonist is a child, and the fourth chapter, where he had became an adult.
Symbolism: it derives from Baudelaire, Verlaine and Mallarmè and consists in a double vision of reality. Poetry is now associated to the intuitive power of the artist and the poet is the one, which can find mysterious associations. For example the final part of the "Dubliners", "The Dead", is a combination of realism and symbolism. Whereas Misses Morkan house, the people and the dinner are described through an accumulation of realistic details, the same details become symbols of a deeper reality (for example the roast goose served at the dinner becomes symbol of Gabriel need for escape; the same name Gabriel, which, according to the Hebrew mythology, is both the prince of fire and the angel of death, means that Gabriel is spiritually dead; instead Michael Furey, whose name means the highest angel, will live for ever in Gretta's memory). Moreover symbolism is present in a "Portrait of an artist…"when the protagonist, Steven Dedalus, associates the girl appeared to a bird. This meant that the girl is a symbol of flight, escape, safety and freedom.
Moreover, depending on the psychology of the characters, the time is no more objective category, but relative one and therefore there is often the contemporarily of past, present and future. The best example of the stream of consciousness is in "Ulysses" the monologue of Molly Bloom. It's an unlogical speech, which is based on the association of different thoughts or impressions, through similarity of sound or meaning. In particular she passes from the image of flowers to her youth in Gibraltar, to Leopold's proposal and to God's existence.
The epiphany: the original meaning of the term epiphany is, of course, the showing of the Christ child to the Magi, but Joyce adopts this expression to mean a sudden revelation through a gesture, a word, which involves the spiritual awakening of the protagonist. An example of epiphany is present in the "Dead" when Gretta reveals to Gabriel Conroy her past experience when a man died for her. This revelation involves a changement in Gabriel, in fact he understands that his wife has a private life and, looking at himself, he discovers how he is, not what he would like to be. Another epiphany is in "A Portrait of an artist" when Steven Dedalus, after the sight of the girl, understands that his mission in life is not to become a priest, but to be free from all the bounds of society.
In 1914 he wrote the "Dubliners", made up of fifteen stories, divided into four groups: childhood, adolescence, mature life and public life. The final part of the "Dubliners" is "The Dead", which can be read as the moral growth of Gabriel from his initial egotism to his consciousness of being part of the vast community of the living and of the dead, united by the assimilating power of the snow.
Dublin: thought Joyce left Dublin at the age of twenty two, he set all his works in Ireland and mostly in the city of Dublin. While London had been made literary famous by Dickens and other writers, Dublin had never been represented and probably Joyce considered it his mission to give his home town a literary importance. The paralysis, is the typical condition of modern men in the modern metropolis and consists in the impossibility to escape from a well-known world. Therefore in the "Dubliners" even if Eveline is in Dublin exploited and offended, she can't leave her town to follow her lover Frank in an unknown country.
JOYCE’S CONCEPTION OF THE ARTIST
Joyce thought that the artist ought to be invisible in his work, in the sense that he must not express his own viewpoint. He should instead try to express the thoughts and experiences of other men. He advocated the total objectivity of the artist and his independence from all moral, religious or political pressures.
FEATURES AND THEMES
Apart from rejecting Irish nationalism, Joyce rejected Irish life in toto. Yet at the same time he set all his novels in Dublin, the capital of the country he had grown up in and rejected, and his concern with the particulars of life there was unflagging and obsessive. He spent all his adult life abroad and becoming the most cosmopolitan of Irish writers in his openness to the influence of other intellectual traditions. Like other European writers of the time he was deeply interested in all aspects of modern culture. Like other writers, he found himself involved in the controversy over the two most influential literary currents of the time, realism and symbolism. Joyce always refused to be classified in either movements since realism and symbolism often combined in his works. He created a new kind of language, a mixture of existing words, inventive word combinations, and not-existent words. Syntax is disordered, punctuation not-existent.
Joyce literary production can be divided into two period. The first period of his work is marked by a realistic technique. One of the most significant works of this period is Dubliners. The fifteen stories which the book contains were all written by 1905, except for “The Dead”, the longest and most ambitious, which was written in 1907. The work in an acute analysis of Dublin’s life. The stories are arranged in thematic sequence, divided into four sections, each of which represents one stage in life: childhood, adolescence, maturity, public life, plus an epilogue. The style of the book is essentially realistic, with a scrupulous cataloguing of detail, the ability to create a sense of place and remarkable moments of sudden insight, which are one of the characteristics of Joyce’s art. He called these moments of insight “epiphanies” Joyce adopts this expression to signify a sudden revelation, the moment in a novel or story when a sudden spiritual awakening is experienced, in which all the petty details, thoughts, gestures, objects, feelings, come together to produce a new sudden awareness.
FROM DUBLINERS,”THE DEAD”
One of the best example of “epiphany” can be found in The Dead. The Dead is the last of the stories in Dubliners. It forms the climax to the theme of decay and stagnation that runs through all the stories intended to show the spiritual paralysis of Dublin, the heart of modern Ireland. But it also goes beyond the earlier stories by developing a more compassionate view of the lives of its characters, as well as moving away from the rigorously realistic and objective presentation of their lives, which is the dominant approach in the rest of the book. The story can be divided into two main parts. The first takes place at a dinner party shortly after Christmas; and in the second the central character, Gabriel Conroy, meditates in a hotel room on what has passed. The first section is set at the house of Kate and Julia Morkan, Gabriel’ s aunts. Joyce skilfully makes this gathering representative of contemporary Ireland, including the different generations, different religious denominations, and political sympathies. All the events are viewed through the eyes of Gabriel Conroy. The high point of the party for Gabriel is a speech he makes after dinner. As he and Gretta walk home he is filled with love and desire for his wife, and remembers the happy moments in their courtship and married life. But once they reach the intimacy of their hotel bedroom he realises that his wife is weeping; he seeks to comfort her, and is shocked to find that an old Irish song sung at the party had brought back to her thoughts the memory of a young man, Michael Furey, who had been in love with her and had died for her sake. After Gretta has fallen asleep, Gabriel lies awake and thinks of the events of the night: his own fatuous complacency, his petty irritations and weak desires, and the futility of the lives that surround him.
The second period of Joyce’s writing sees the transition from a somewhat traditional approach to a stage of experimentation, rich in symbolism and allegory. The best known work of the second period is Ulysses. It takes as its material a single day, June 16, 1904, in the life of three Dubliners, and it is divided into three corresponding parts. The central character in the first part is Stephen Dedalus. Stephen is a young man with intellectual ambitions, the enemy of his own country and a martyr to art. He is an arrogant young man preaching the gospel of art to the Irish. His surname Dedalus, is of course that of legendary Greek artificer: Stephen desires to convert the philistine Irish to the cult of beauty inherited from the Greeks. The second part of Ulysses is dominated by the figure of Leopold Bloom, the Ulysses of the title: a middle-age married man, who wanders around Dublin as Ulysses wandered around the Mediterranean, encountering adventures which roughly parallel those of the Homeric hero. The third part is dominated by his wife, Molly Bloom, who corresponds to Ulysses’ s wife Penelope, just as Stephen Dedalus represents Ulysses’ son Telemachus. The novel begins with Stephen evicted from his lodgings and forced to wander the streets in search of a father and a home; in his wanderings he meets Bloom, who adopts him by offering to take him home and give him shelter. At home, awaiting the wanderers, is Molly Bloom, like Penelope on Ithaca. The book concludes with her ruminations as she lies awake in bed.EVELINE
“Eveline” is one of the fifteen short stories of the first great work of James Joyce: “Dubliners”.Eveline is sitting at the window and her mind flows towards her past and actual life. She thinks to her games, when she was a child, of the death of her mother and her brother Harry, of the growthing violence of her father. In the end she thinks of her fiancè: Frank, and she is charmed by his strenght and generosity. Here we can observe that the time of the story isn’t a cronologichal time and the feelings aren’t presented in their logical sequence. There is neither time nor plot in Eveline’s reflection. This way of narrating is known as the “stream of consciousness tecnique”, first introduced by Stern and widely used by Joyce.Eveline is in the centre of a struggle, between the nostalgia of her everyday life, her family, her roots and her city: Dublin and the hope for a better life with Frank in Buenos Aires.She highlights a step to adulthood, which is one of the favourite themes of the writer.In his works, he describes the changes of identity during the different ages of life: youth, adolescence, maturity and adulthood.
Eveline is a normal girl and she summarizes all the features Joyce wanted to tribute to Dublin population: the lack of enterprise and a sense of resignation. In fact Eveline’s fear will prevail and she won’t join Frank in his journey. Maybe Joyce, just like Eveline, had a psichological struggle, when he decided to move from Dublin. On the one hand he hated the bigoted, narrow-minded and stark reality. But, on the other hand, he loved his city, its contraddictions, its musical cultutre, its coloured atmosphere; in fact all his works are set in Dublin.Moreover Dublin has a personal value for Joyce, but it also represents all the city of the world and so Eveline’s inner conflict is the personal struggle of everyone.