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James Joyce’s Ireland. Early Life. Born in 1882 in Dublin, Ireland He was the oldest of 10 children He attended private Jesuit schools (Clonglowes Wood College and Belvedere College), though his family had little money Graduated from University College Dublin (university for Catholics)

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early life
Early Life
  • Born in 1882 in Dublin, Ireland
  • He was the oldest of 10 children
  • He attended private Jesuit schools (Clonglowes Wood College and Belvedere College), though his family had little money
  • Graduated from University College Dublin (university for Catholics)
  • Left Ireland to live in France in 1902
  • Returned when his mother was dying a year later, but refused to kneel down and pray at her bedside
young adulthood
Young Adulthood
  • He stayed in Dublin for a bit, living for a time in a Martello Tower on Sandymount Strand (where his roommate, Oliver St. John Gogarty, shot at him)
  • In 1904 he leaves Ireland with his mistress, a chambermaid from Galway named Nora Barnacle.
  • He came back to Ireland four times from 1904-1912 (the last time to open Dublin’s first cinema), then never returned
art vs life
Art vs. Life
  • Joyce’s family was poor, and he never had money.
  • Many stories about Joyce portray him as an inveterate mooch.
  • He moved from city to city in Europe, with wife and two children in tow, trying to strike a balance between supporting his family through teaching jobs and writing.
  • He secures a patron, Harriet Shaw Weaver, who provides for him financially and allows him to write without concern for his financial security.
frustration
Frustration
  • Joyce was recognized as a major literary figure during his life, but he never made a living from his writing.
  • The publication of Ulysses was banned in the US from 1920-1933 because it was considered obscene.
  • For much of his life he suffered from glaucoma, which required him to get over a dozen surgeries
insidious forces at work britain
Insidious Forces at Work-Britain
  • Joyce’s family were strong nationalists, and resented Britain’s influence on Ireland
  • They were angry and frustrated by the downfall of Charles Stewart Parnell, the politician who tried to bring Home Rule to Ireland
  • Joyce believed that Britain purposefully kept Ireland backward and remote, and that the cultural life of Ireland lagged far behind the rest of Europe.
celtic revival
Celtic Revival
  • Around the turn of the century, there was a renewed interest in the Celtic culture and language, rather than the British culture imposed on Ireland.
  • Writers like William Butler Yeats integrated Celtic mythology and symbolism into their works.
  • Though he was undoubtedly influenced by this movement, Joyce believed that overly-ardent nationalism was just as draining on the country as Britain’s occupation.
insidious forces at work the church
Insidious Forces at Work-The Church
  • Joyce believed that The Catholic Church, was guilty of keeping Ireland subservient and ignorant
  • He also believed that the church was draining Ireland of her intellectuals, as they often became priests rather than doctors, scientists, or artists
  • Joyce, along with many Irish, resented the Church’s denunciations of rebellions against Britain and excommunication of those who rebelled
  • He was violently opposed to anything that required him to submit, acquiesce, or kneel (thus, his reason for not kneeling at his mother’s deathbed)
motifs in dubliners paralysis
Motifs in Dubliners—Paralysis
  • Joyce believed Ireland had culturally reached a state of paralysis, where it was not progressing culturally as was the rest of Europe
  • This paralysis affects individuals, as “in story after Dubliners story, characters fail to move forward, tending rather to forge outward and then retreat, or else circle endlessly. They are stuck in place” (CliffsNotes—Dubliners).
  • Images of paralysis included people circling or sitting, or starting to move, then retreating.
motifs in dubliners decay
Motifs in Dubliners—Decay
  • Paralysis, according to Joyce, then leads to decay—things that don’t move begin to erode more quickly
  • Images of decay in Dubliners are mostly through the colors of brown, yellow, and sometimes green (physical colors of decomposition)
  • Again, Joyce applies this idea not just to the individuals in his stories, but also to Ireland in general.
themes in dubliners corruption
Themes in Dubliners—Corruption
  • Joyce suggests that humans are fallen creatures that are apathetic at best, and outwardly vile at the worst
  • Contamination, deterioration, perversity, and depravity occur throughout the stories
  • Things that become corrupted:
    • Innocence of youth
    • ideals—political, religious, personal
    • Relationships—familial and romantic
  • “From time to time I see in publishers’ lists announcements of books on Irish Subjects, so that I think people might be willing to pay for the special odour of corruption which, I hope, floats over my stories”

—James Joyce

themes in dubliners death
Themes in Dubliners—Death
  • Dubliners begins with a death and ends with a story called “The Dead”
  • Death is the natural end of the previous ideas—paralysis leads to decay and corruption, which ultimately ends in death
  • Especially in “The Dead,” we will witness a number of characters that live and breathe, but are actually “dead” inside
letter to joyce s publisher
Letter to Joyce’s Publisher
  • “The points on which I have not yielded are the points which rivet the book together. If I eliminate them what becomes of the chapter of the moral history of my country? I fight to retain them because I believe that in composing my chapter of moral history in exactly the way I have composed it I have taken the first step towards the spiritual liberation of my country”

—James Joyce

structure and purpose of dubliners
Structure and Purpose of Dubliners
  • “My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity, and public life. The stories are arranged in this order. I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, whatever he has seen and heard.”

—James Joyce

influence
Influence
  • Few authors in the English language are as influential as Joyce, even fewer have created such a vast range of opinion.
  • He was extremely influential to a young Samuel Beckett, as well as countless authors that have followed.
  • Many consider his novel Ulysses to be the greatest novel ever written in the English language
  • People from all over the world come to Dublin on June 16 for Bloomsday, a celebration of Joyce and Ulysses (which takes place on June 16, 1904—his first date with Nora Barnacle)