Joyce was the author of the short story collection Dubliners (1914) and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922), and Finnegans Wake (1939). His collections of poetry include Chamber Music (1907) and Pomes Penyeach (1927).
Joyce's repudiation of Catholic Ireland and his countering declaration of artistic independence are well-known and integral features of his life-long dedication to writing. Yet he was formed by the Ireland he repudiated and his quest for artistic freedom was itself shaped by the exemplary instances of earlier Irish writers.
He lived in Trieste with his partner and later wife, Nora Barnacle, and their children. During World War I the family lived in Zurich, moving to Paris after the war, and then to the South of France before the Nazi invasion. The family was living in Zurich when Joyce died.
Divided into five chapters, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man follows Stephen’s life from childhood through adolescence to the first flush of manhood. As Stephen matures through various family conflicts and periods of study at Jesuit schools, he begins to rebel against his family, his religion, and his nation.
Written in a wide variety of styles, chock-full of an encyclopedia's worth of allusions, rife with enough puns and jokes to fill a comedian's career, the novel focuses on one day – June 16, 1904 – in the life of Mr. Leopold Bloom, a middle-aged Jewish man living in Dublin, Ireland.
There is a noticeable progression in the body of Joyce's work, and you can see him begin in Portrait to toy with a number of the techniques that he would flesh out and master in Ulysses. Namely, we're talking about stream-of-conscious writing and other radical ways of depicting a character's internal life in relation to the world around him.
Ulysses, completed in 1922, was first published in France and is considered his first major work. The book was banned in both Great Britain and the United States because parts were construed as obscene, and it wasn’t published in the United States until 1933 after years of litigation.
Finnegans Wake has earned itself an undeserved reputation for being incomprehensible and unreadable. This could not be further from the truth. In reality it is a challenging work of awesome beauty, into whose inky depths one can probe for years. Its content is rich and varied and also sonorously lyrical.
The writer was born Feb. 2, 1882, in Dublin, Ireland, the son of John Stanislaus Joyce (The Simon Dedalus of "Ulysses" whom Bloom hears singing in the Ormond bar) and Mary Murray Joyce.
The unprecedented explicitness with which Joyce introduced the trivial details of ordinary life into the realm of art opened up a rich new territory for writers, painters, and film-makers, while at the same time it revealed the fruitful contradictions at the hear of the realist enterprise itself.