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James Joyce Essay

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In selecting James Joyce's Ulysses as the best novel of the twentieth century, Time magazine affirmed Joyce's lasting legacy in the realm of English literature. James Joyce (1882-1941), the twentieth century Irish novelist, short story writer and poet is a major literary figure of the twentieth-century. Regarded as "the most international of writers in English¡K[with] a global reputation (Attridge, pix), Joyce's stature in literature stems from his experimentation with English prose. Influenced by European writers and an encyclopedic knowledge of European literatures, Joyce's distinctive writing style includes epiphanies, the stream-of-consciousness technique and conciseness.

Born in Rathgar, near Dubtin, in 1882, he lived his adult life in Europe and died in Zurich, Switzerland in 1941. The eldest of then children, Joyce attended a Jesuit boarding school Clongowes Wood from 18888-1891 and Belvedere College, another Jesuit school from 1893-1898. In 1902, Joyce graduated from University College and went to live in exile in Europe unable to tolerate the narrow-mindedness of his native country. Ironically, Ireland and Irish people become the subject of his short stories and novels. The two central preoccupations of his work are a sense of betrayal. Ireland, dominated both political and economically by Britain and religiously by the Catholic Church caused Joyce to regard them as "the two imperialisms" (Attridge P. 34). Roman Catholicism is an integral aspect of the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. In 1917, the English novelist H.G. Wells in a review of the novel in the New Republic wrote, "by far the most living and convincing picture that exists of an Irish Catholic upbringing." Joyce's focus on betrayal was a consequence of the downfall in 1889of the Irish leader Charles Stuart Parnell when he was attacked by the Irish Catholic Church when named a correspondent in a divorce case. This treachery left an indelible mark on Joyce's mind.

	Joyce literary talent emerged at Belvedere as he began to read the work of European writers and in particular the Norwegian dramatist, Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). At the age of eighteen, Joyce wrote an essay entitled "Ibsen's New Drama" which was published in the Fortnightly Review. When Ibsen sent him a note of thanks, "the awestruck Joyce resolved to learn Norwegion...


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... days the about life span of his characters-as Joyce world do in 'The Dead' in Ulysses, and perhaps in Finnegan's Wake." (Atteridge p.65) There was an increasing concentration on form and language in Joyce's five novels. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce in a few lines, describes Stephan, Dedalues's mood and characters.

Works Cited

1. Arnold, Armin. James Joyce. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1969.


2. Attridge, Derek. The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.


3. Benstock, Bernard. "Joyce, James." Twentieth Century Authors. New York: HW Wilson Company, 1942.


4. Cahalan, James M. A Critical History. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1988.


5. "Joyce, James Augustine Aloysins." Microsoft Corpuration. Encarta. CD-Rom. Encarta. 1993-1996.


6. Kalasky, Drew. Short Story Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1995.


7. Kenner, Hugh, Fritz Senn, E.L. Esptein, Robert Boyle, SJ. A Starchamber Quiry: a James Joyce Centennial Volume, 1882-1982. New York: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1982.


8. Rice, Thomas Jackson. James Joyce: Life, Work, and Criticism. Frederiction: York Press LTD., 1985.


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