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James Joyce

James Joyce

James Joyce was born in Dublin on 2 February 1882, the eldest surviving son of a large middle class family, which after brief prosperity collapsed into poverty.

He was educated by the Jesuits, first at Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare and then at Belvedere College in Dublin where he first displayed his writing talent.

After school, he attended what is now University College Dublin, where he took a Bachelor of Arts in 1902. After graduation, Joyce traveled to Paris with the intention of attending medical school. However, his passion to write soon lead him to abandon his studies to write poems, book reviews and develop a theory of aesthetics.

He returned to Ireland in the spring of 1903 due to the fatal illness of his mother. Between then and autumn of 1904 he wrote some of the opening stories of Dubliners and began on an early draft of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, called Stephen Hero.

Nora Barnacle with Giorgio and Lucia

In the summer in 1904 he met Nora Barnacle, a girl from Galway working at Finn's Hotel in Dublin. By autumn they moved together to the Continent, where Joyce had secured a job teaching English.

They first lived in Pola, and then Trieste, where they raised a son and daughter. Over the next decade Joyce published his first collection of poems Chamber Music in 1907 and his collection of short stories Dubliners, in 1914.

In 1915 the First World War forced them to move to Zurich, in neutral Switzerland, where they remained until 1919. During this time Joyce published his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in 1916 and a play, Exiles, in 1918. He was also continued working on Ulysses, which he had begun in 1914.

After the war they moved to Paris, where Joyce arranged for the publication of Ulysses, which came out on his 40th birthday - 2 Febraury 1922. Later that year he began work on Finnegans Wake, which was published in 1939.

The outbreak of World War II forced the Joyce's to move again, first to unoccupied France and then back to Zurich, where he died on 13th January 1941. He was buried in Fluntern Cemetery.

Joseph O'Connor, Edna O'Brien and Gerry O'Flaherty recall the events and characters of this day and explore why James Joyce's fictionalised events of an ordinary day should become such a literary masterpiece.
Bowman Saturday Radio1 programme 05/06/2004
Bowman Saturday Radio1 programme 12/06/2004
The Book on One : The Joyce We Knew, edited by Ulick O'Connor
14th June 2004
15th June 2004
16th June 2004
17th June 2004
18th June 2004