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In , in his early twenties, Joyce emigrated to continental Europe with his partner and later wife Nora Barnacle. Although most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe centres on Dublin and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there. Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses , he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, "For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world.
In the particular is contained the universal. He was the eldest of ten surviving siblings; two died of typhoid.
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John O'Mulloy. Joyce's godparents were Philip and Ellen McCann.
John Stanislaus Joyce's family came from Fermoy in County Cork , and had owned a small salt and lime works. Around this time Joyce was attacked by a dog, leading to his lifelong cynophobia. He suffered from astraphobia ; a superstitious aunt had described thunderstorms as a sign of God's wrath. In Joyce wrote a poem on the death of Charles Stewart Parnell.
The Irish Party had dropped Parnell from leadership. But the Vatican's role in allying with the British Conservative Party to prevent Home Rule left a lasting impression on the young Joyce. In November, John Joyce was entered in Stubbs' Gazette a publisher of bankruptcies and suspended from work. In , John Joyce was dismissed with a pension, beginning the family's slide into poverty caused mainly by his drinking and financial mismanagement.
Joyce had begun his education at Clongowes Wood College , a Jesuit boarding school near Clane , County Kildare, in but had to leave in when his father could no longer pay the fees. This came about because of a chance meeting his father had with a Jesuit priest called John Conmee who knew the family and Joyce was given a reduction in fees to attend Belvedere.
He became active in theatrical and literary circles in the city. In his laudatory review of Henrik Ibsen 's When We Dead Awaken was published in The Fortnightly Review ; it was his first publication and, after learning basic Norwegian to send a fan letter to Ibsen, he received a letter of thanks from the dramatist. Joyce wrote a number of other articles and at least two plays since lost during this period.
Many of the friends he made at University College Dublin appeared as characters in Joyce's works. His closest colleagues included leading figures of the generation, most notably, Tom Kettle , Francis Sheehy-Skeffington and Oliver St. John Gogarty. Joyce was first introduced to the Irish public by Arthur Griffith in his newspaper, United Irishman , in November Joyce had written an article on the Irish Literary Theatre and his college magazine refused to print it.
Joyce had it printed and distributed locally. Griffith himself wrote a piece decrying the censorship of the student James Joyce.
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After graduating from UCD in , Joyce left for Paris to study medicine, but he soon abandoned this. Richard Ellmann suggests that this may have been because he found the technical lectures in French too difficult. Joyce had already failed to pass chemistry in English in Dublin.
But Joyce claimed ill health as the problem and wrote home that he was unwell and complained about the cold weather. Fearing for her son's impiety, his mother tried unsuccessfully to get Joyce to make his confession and to take communion. She finally passed into a coma and died on 13 August, James and his brother Stanislaus having refused to kneel with other members of the family praying at her bedside.
He scraped together a living reviewing books, teaching, and singing—he was an accomplished tenor , and won the bronze medal in the Feis Ceoil. On 7 January , Joyce attempted to publish A Portrait of the Artist , an essay-story dealing with aesthetics , only to have it rejected by the free-thinking magazine Dana.
He decided, on his twenty-second birthday, to revise the story into a novel he called Stephen Hero. It was a fictional rendering of Joyce's youth, but he eventually grew frustrated with its direction and abandoned this work. It was never published in this form, but years later, in Trieste, Joyce completely rewrote it as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
The unfinished Stephen Hero was published after his death. Also in , he met Nora Barnacle , a young woman from Galway city who was working as a chambermaid. On 16 June they had their first outing together, they walked to the Dublin suburb of Ringsend , where Nora masturbated him. This event was commemorated by providing the date for the action of Ulysses as " Bloomsday ". Joyce remained in Dublin for some time longer, drinking heavily. After one of his drinking binges, he got into a fight over a misunderstanding with a man in St Stephen's Green ;  he was picked up and dusted off by a minor acquaintance of his father, Alfred H.
Hunter, who took him into his home to tend to his injuries. John Gogarty, who informed the character for Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. After six nights in the Martello Tower that Gogarty was renting in Sandycove, he left in the middle of the night following an altercation which involved another student he lived with, the unstable Dermot Chenevix Trench Haines in Ulysses , who fired a pistol at some pans hanging directly over Joyce's bed. Shortly after, the couple left Ireland to live on the continent.
James Joyce: Works
It later became evident that the agent had been swindled; the director of the school sent Joyce on to Trieste , which was then part of Austria-Hungary until the First World War , and is today part of Italy. Once again, he found there was no position for him, but with the help of Almidano Artifoni, director of the Trieste Berlitz School, he finally secured a teaching position in Pola , then also part of Austria-Hungary today part of Croatia.
He stayed there, teaching English mainly to Austro-Hungarian naval officers stationed at the Pola base, from October until March , when the Austrians—having discovered an espionage ring in the city—expelled all aliens. With Artifoni's help, he moved back to Trieste and began teaching English there. He remained in Trieste for most of the next ten years. Later that year Nora gave birth to their first child, George known as Giorgio. Joyce persuaded his brother, Stanislaus, to join him in Trieste, and secured a teaching position for him at the school.
Joyce sought to augment his family's meagre income with his brother's earnings. Joyce became frustrated with life in Trieste and moved to Rome in late , taking employment as a clerk in a bank. He disliked Rome and returned to Trieste in early His daughter Lucia was born later that year.
Joyce returned to Dublin in mid with George, to visit his father and work on getting Dubliners published. He visited Nora's family in Galway and liked Nora's mother very much.
He spent a month in Trieste before returning to Dublin, this time as a representative of some cinema owners and businessmen from Trieste. With their backing he launched Ireland's first cinema, the Volta Cinematograph , which was well-received, but fell apart after Joyce left. He returned to Trieste in January with another sister, Eileen, in tow.
Joyce returned to Dublin again briefly in mid during his years-long fight with Dublin publisher George Roberts over the publication of Dubliners.
His trip was once again fruitless, and on his return he wrote the poem "Gas from a Burner", an invective against Roberts. After this trip, he never again came closer to Dublin than London, despite many pleas from his father and invitations from his fellow Irish writer William Butler Yeats. They met in and became lasting friends and mutual critics. Schmitz was a Catholic of Jewish origin and became a primary model for Leopold Bloom; most of the details about the Jewish faith in Ulysses came from Schmitz's responses to queries from Joyce.
Joyce concocted a number of money-making schemes during this period, including an attempt to become a cinema magnate in Dublin. He frequently discussed but ultimately abandoned a plan to import Irish tweed to Trieste. Correspondence relating to that venture with the Irish Woollen Mills were for a long time displayed in the windows of their premises in Dublin. Joyce's skill at borrowing money saved him from indigence. What income he had came partially from his position at the Berlitz school and partially from teaching private students. Two influential private students, Baron Ambrogio Ralli and Count Francesco Sordina, petitioned officials for an exit permit for the Joyces, who in turn agreed not to take any action against the emperor of Austria-Hungary during the war.
During this period Joyce took an active interest in socialism.
Related Collected Works of James Joyce
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