James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882. He was a rebel among rebels. He was in contrast with his contemporaries such as Yeats whose main objective was the freeing of Ireland from the British Empire.
He left Dublin at the age of 22 and traveled to Paris, Rome, and finally settled in Trieste, where he met Italo Svevo. He married Nora Barnacle, with whom he had two children: Giorgio and Lucia. They had their first date on June 16, that is the Bloomsday of Ulysses. He had many financial problems and troubles with publishers who considered its works as obscene. His main works are: Chamber Music, Dubliners, A portrait of the Artist as a young man and Ulysses.
Ordinary DublinThough he left Dublin at the age of 22, Joyce set all his works in Dublin. He wanted to give a realistic portrait of the life of the ordinary people.
The rebellion against the ChurchThough he grew up in a Catholic world, he rebelled against the Catholic Church because he thought that Church could influence the narrow mind of the Dubliners
A poor eye sightHe was almost blind, so he better developed the sense of ear, and the sound of words was very important to him.
A subjective perception of timeJoyce was a Modernist writer. All the facts of his works are confused and explored from different points of view. He emphasizes the inner world of the characters. He analyses the impressions and thoughts that an external event has caused into the character’s mind. Time is perceived as subjective, depending on psychological change. He is interested in the characters’ reaction rather than the event per se.
The impersonality of the artistJoyce’s task was to render life objectively in order to give back a true image of it.
This led to the isolation and detachment of the artist from society.
His style developed from Realism. He uses the free direct speech, the epiphany, the interior monologue with two levels of narration, the extreme interior monologue, different POV
His language is characterized by a chain of words without punctuation or a grammatical order, by infinite puns.