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A master of the stream of consciousness technique, James Joyce’s career-defining work was the Ulysses, a modern version of Homer’s Odyssey with three main characters similar to the ones in Odyssey. Ulysses has gained the reputation of being one of the finest novels ever written.
See the fact file below for more information on the James Joyce or alternatively, you can download our 25-page James Joyce worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Childhood and Education
- James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born on February 2, 1882, to a big family in Dublin, Ireland.
- He was the eldest of 10 children born to singer John Stanislaus Joyce and his wife Mary Murray Joyce.
- Although John was known to be one of the finest tenors in Ireland, he did not provide a stable household and spent his earnings on alcohol.
- From an early age, James Joyce showed exceptional intelligence as well as a gift for writing and a passion for literature. He taught himself Norwegian so he could read Henrik Ibsen’s plays in the language in which they were written, and spent his free time devouring Dante, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas.
- Because of his intelligence, his family pushed young James to get an education. Joyce attended the Jesuits’ Irish schools of Clongowes Wood College and later Belvedere College before attending University College Dublin, where he earned a degree on modern languages.
- After his graduation, Joyce left Ireland for a new life in Paris where he hoped to study medicine. He returned, however, not long after when he learned that his mother had become terminally ill.
- Although Joyce stayed in Ireland only a short time, he was there long enough to meet Nora Barnacle, a hotel chambermaid who hailed from Galway and later became his wife.
- Around this time, Joyce also had his first short story published in the Irish Homestead magazine. The publication picked up two more Joyce works, but this start of a literary career was not enough to keep him in Ireland.
- In late 1904, Joyce moved to what is now the Croatian city of Pula before settling in the Italian seaport city of Trieste. There Joyce taught English and learned Italian, one of 17 languages he could speak, a list that included Arabic, Sanskrit, and Greek.
- Other moves followed as the couple made their home in cities such as Rome and Paris. To keep his family above water financially, Joyce continued to find work as a teacher.
- In 1914, Joyce published his first book, Dubliners, a collection of 15 short stories. Two years later Joyce published a second book, the novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
- While not a huge commercial success, the book caught the attention of the American poet, Ezra Pound, who praised Joyce for his unconventional style and voice.
- The same year that Dubliners came out, Joyce embarked on what would prove to be his landmark novel, Ulysses, a modern retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. The story recounts a single day in Dublin. The date: June 16, 1904, the same day that Joyce and Barnacle met.
- On the surface, Ulysses follows the story of three central characters, Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom, and Molly Bloom, as well as the city life that unfolds around them.
- With its advanced use of interior monologue, the novel not only brought the reader deep into Bloom’s sometimes lurid mind, but pioneered Joyce’s use of stream of consciousnesses as a literary technique and set the course for a whole new kind of novel.
- But Ulysses is not an easy read, and upon its publication in Paris in 1922 by Sylvia Beach, an American expat who owned a bookstore in the city, the book drew both praise and sharp criticism.
- Long before Ulysses ever came out, debate raged over the content of the novel. The book was banned for several years in the US and the UK after it was published in France.
- In the US, the ban came to a head in 1932 when New York City Customs Agents seized copies of the book that had been sent to Random House, which wanted to publish the book.
- The case made its way to court where in 1934 Judge John M. Woolsey ruled in favor of the publishing company by declaring that Ulysses was not pornographic. American readers were free to read the book. In 1936, British fans of Joyce were allowed to do the same.
- While he sometimes resented the attention Ulysses brought him, Joyce saw his days as a struggling writer come to an end with the book’s publication.
Life After Ulysses
- It hadn’t been an easy road. During World War I, Joyce had moved his family to Zurich, where they subsisted on the generosity of English magazine editor, Harriet Weaver, and Barnacle’s uncle.
- Eventually the family settled into a new life in Paris. Success, however, couldn’t protect Joyce from health issues. His most problematic condition concerned his eyes. He suffered from a constant stream of ocular illnesses, went through a host of surgeries, and for a number of years was nearly blind.
- In 1939, Joyce published Finnegans Wake, his long awaited follow up novel, which, with its myriad of puns and new words, proved to be an even more difficult read than his previous work. Still, the book was an immediate success, earning “book of the week” honors in the US and the UK not long after its debut.
- A year after Finnegans’ publication, Joyce and his family were on the move again, this time to southern France in advance of the coming Nazi invasion of Paris. Eventually the family returned to Zurich.
- Sadly, Joyce never saw the conclusion of World War II. Following an intestinal operation, Joyce died on January 13, 1941, at the Schwesternhaus von Roten Kreuz Hospital. His wife and son were at his bedside when he passed. He is buried in Fluntern Cemetery in Zurich.
James Joyce Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about James Joyce across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use James Joyce worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about James Joyce who’s career-defining work was the Ulysses, a modern version of Homer’s Odyssey with three main characters similar to the ones in Odyssey. Ulysses has gained the reputation of being one of the finest novels ever written.citadel, with a hillside walking trail.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Authors Online
- Joyce’s Journey
- James Speaks
- Library Hunt
- Like Leopold
- Happy Bloomsday!
- Dream Adventure
- A Way with Words
- Dinner with a Dubliner
- James the Polyglot
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Link will appear as James Joyce Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 9, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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