James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882. He was an Irish novelist and poet. He received a Jesuit education, however he was unconventional, and he criticized the Irish society and the Catholic Church.
In 1914 he wrote Dubliners, a collection of 15 short stories in which Joyce does an analysis of the crisis of western society, like Eliot in the Waste Land. In these short stories, Joyce defines Dublin as a microcosm, as the Center of Paralysis, the center of a mental paralysis. Also, because these are short stories, the language used is SYMBOLIC; in fact, Joyce takes inspiration from the symbolism of Baudelaire. So, Joyce uses the Symbology of smells and colors to underline the western human condition, the Decadence of western society.
So, we can say that Joyce does the same analysis that Eliot does at the poetic level, at the narrative level. So, the figure of Dublin in Joyce is like the figure of the etherized patient in Eliot.
Also, the surname Dedalus can be referred to the Greek myth of Minotaur’s labyrinth. So the name of main character is very symbolic, because Stephen represents the martyr of a new battle for leave from the labyrinth of the western society. For leave from this labyrinth, we need to find the Arianne’s thread.
Also, this novel can be considered a Meta-Novel: is a novel in which we talk and discuss about the characteristics of the novel, that is to say, about the techniques used in the novel. In this meta-novel Joyce underlines the characteristics of the novel. So, this is also a novel of initiation, in which are underlined the linguistics and stylistics techniques used by the others novelists in XX century. For example, in this novel, Joyce explains the technique of the Ephifany: is a sudden revelation thanks an apparent meaningless event.
So, Joyce wants to tell us we need epiphanies for leave from the labyrinth, for go out from the center of the paralysis. In this novel, we find also the concept of denationalization: Joyce says the author is like a director who is behind the scenes, and that is “filing his nails during the play”. In fact the characters developed by themselves.
So, Joyce want underline the techniques used to make more objective the message, like Eliot.
After he wrote this novel of initiation, he decided to leave Dublin, and he tried two experiences: The first in Italy, in Trieste; The second in France, in Paris.
This is the most complex work of Joyce, from the technical and linguistic point of view. In fact, Joyce utilizes often the language of The stream of consciousness.
In this work there is the Exploration of the extremes of human language. That is to say, Joyce wanted to replay the language of Dream. So, there are some Neologism, new words, and words of many languages. Joyce analyzes the same language of our dreams, to make an objective Rule; So he begins his analysis from his personal experience, to arrive, by an objective “exploration”, to a general rule.