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Joyce (1882 - 1941)
James Joyce, perhaps Ireland's best-known and most-loved wordsmith, cuts
a towering figure over the landscape of Irish literature. The archetypal
Dubliner, Joyce's love-hate relationship with Ireland's capital city provided
the raw material that fired some of the greatest modern writing to emerge
from the island.
Born in 1882 to a suburban Dublin family, Joyce attended University College
Dublin, where he studied languages. In addition to his literary and linguistic
talents, Joyce was also an exceptional musical and spiritual talent, nearly
entering the priesthood. Eventually, however, Joyce decided the celibate,
cloistered life of the Church was not for him, and he dove into writing
Joyce met and fell in love with Nora Barnacle, a young Galway woman.
The day of their first walk together, 16 June 1904, was immortalized as
Bloomsday, during which the entire narrative of his masterpiece
Ulysses takes place. To this day, Dubliners celebrate Bloomsday with
literary walks and celebrations.
Joyce produced several classics of Irish literature, including The
Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, Dubliners, and his final
coda, Finnegan's Wake, as well as numerous plays, short stories,
and poems. Eventually dying in 1941 after an ulcer operation in Zurich,
Joyce's legacy continues to influence and shape Ireland's literary and cultural