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James Joyce (1882-1941)

Joyce was born in 1882 in Dublin, where he studied and became hostile against the Church. In those years began also the conflict with his parents, linked to his artistic potentialities. Growing up he started to see himself as a European and didn’t agree with the Irish nationalistic movements. He lived in Paris and then went back to Dublin due to his mother death, there he first dated his future wife on June 19, the day that will become the “Doomsday Day” in “Ulysses”. He moved to Trieste, where he met Italo Svevo, and where he spent years filled with difficulties and financial problems. He then published in 1914 the book “Dubliners”, which was reviewed enthusiastically by Ezra Pound. He then moved to Zurich. After the court action for his book “Ulysses”, when Hitler was starting to invade different European countries he moved back to neutral Switzerland, where he died in 1941.


Joyce, as a Modernist writer, focuses on the inner world of the character. The narrative and facts become of secondary importance, and they’re described by different points of view and only to understand how the exterior shapes one’s psychology. Time is also subjective and it leads to psychological change. He also believed in the importance of the impersonality of the artist. His stories start often in medias res, analysing a particular moment. Using different techniques, such as the interior monologue, the epiphany and free direct speech, he wanted to describe life realistically, and give the reader a true image of it.
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