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James Joyce: Biography in Pictures


James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born at 41 Brighton Square in Rathgar, which in 1930 became a part of Dublin on February, 2nd 1882. The oldest of ten children of a spendthrift who brought his large family from prosperity to poverty. 

Joyce came from a big family. He was the eldest of ten children born to John Stanislaus Joyce and his wife Marry Murray Joyce. His father, while a talented singer (he reportedly had one of the finest tenor voices in all of Ireland), didn't provide a stable a household. He liked to drink and his lack of attention to the family finances meant the Joyces never had much money.

From an early age, James Joyce showed not only exceeding intelligence but also a gift for writing and a passion for literature. He taught himself Norwegian so he could read Henrik Ibsen's plays in the language they'd been written, and spent his free time devouring Dante, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas.

In 1893, after being forced to leave their Bray residence due to financial problems, the Joyce family move to the North Inner City and Joyce becomes a student at Belvedere College and from there to Belvidere College in Dublin,
In 1896, While seriously contemplating joining a religious order, Joyce begins writing prose sketches and visiting the infamous brothels of ‘Monto’.

2 years layer, in 1898 Joyce enrols in a degree at University College at Newman House, then located on St Stephen’s Green where he studied modern languages.

His first published work came in 1900 at the age of 18, an essay on the Ibsen play When We Dead Awaken. At this time he was already writing lyric poems.
Impressed by the great European writers such as Ibsen and Hauptmann, he found the Irish literary movement too parochial for his taste. Language, religion and nationality were seen by Joyce as nets cast at his soul.

In 1902, After graduating from university, Joyce went to Paris to study medicine and worked as a journalist for some of the time. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer in April 1903 he returned home to Dublin. After her death, he drank heavily, making out a living as a book reviewer, singing and teaching, but things at home had become unbearable. He stayed in Ireland until 1904, and on July 10th that year he met Nora Barnacle, the Galway woman, a chamber maid who was to become his partner and later his wife.

Nora (pictured in the bottom right, next to their daughter and underneath their son) and James stepped out on their first date on June 16th, 1904. The two weren't formally married until some three decades after they met.

1914 proved a crucial year for Joyce. With Ezra Pound’s assistance, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce’s first novel, began to appear in serial form in Harriet Weaver’s Egoist magazine in London. His collection of short stories, Dubliners, on which he had been working since 1904, was finally published, and he also wrote his only play, Exiles. It was after these successes that Joyce began to think seriously about writing the novel he had been formulating since 1907: Ulysses.
Ulysses was started in 1914 and finally finished in Paris in 1921 and would become his seminal work, a ground breaking tour de force that used different literary styles for each of the chapters. On the picture he is with Sylvia Beach (Ulysses' editor) and Adrienne Monnier at the Shakespeare and Company in Paris.

With the start of World War One, Joyce and Nora, along with their two children, Giorgio and Lucia, were forced to leave Trieste and arrived in Zurich where they lived for the duration of the war. It was during this time that Joyce worked on Ulysses and included many characteristics of those around him in the characters of the book. Joyce’s fortunes improved when he moved to Zurich in 1915. Grants from patrons – especially the generous Harriet Weaver – and official funds enabled him to devote more time to writing, and with the help of Ezra Pound he had A Portrait published in 1916. The early chapters of Ulysses were published in serial form but due to the frankness of its references to bodily functions the book was banned in Britain and the USA.

Though Joyce wanted to settle in Trieste again after the War, the poet Ezra Pound persuaded him to come to Paris for a while, and Joyce stayed there for the next twenty years.

From 1930, after Beach had relinquished the rights to Ulysses, Joyce became very close with Paul Léon, another ex-pat living in Paris. Léon became Joyce’s business advisor and close friend and helped him publish his final book Finnegans Wake in 1939. Joyce spent seventeen years on this last and most complex work, which like Ulysses was entirely based on his native city.
Plagued by illness and failing eyesight, he shunned publicity and spent his time with his family and a few close friends, including Paul Leon who acted as his secretary and handled his business affairs. Tired and ill, Joyce was forced to leave Paris when the Second World War broke out and he took his family to Vichy, where he arranged their exit visas for Switzerland. Léon returned to the Joyces’ apartment in Paris to salvage their belongings and put them into safekeeping for the duration of the war. It’s thanks to Léon’s efforts that many of Joyce’s personal possessions and manuscripts still survive today.

When Joyce was taken ill with violent stomach pain he was taken to the Schwesternhaus zum Roten Kreuz Gloriastrasse 14 His condition deteriorated until he died of perforated duodenal uler on 13 Januray 1941.

In Zurich he underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer. Though he seemed to be getting better, James Joyce at the age of fifty-nine died of a perforated duodenal ulcer in the early hours of 13 January 1941in Schwesterhaus vom Roten Kreuz in Zurich where he and his family had been given asylum. He is buried in Fluntern cemetery, Zurich.