Wednesday, 13 January 2010

On this day...

Irish writer James Joyce, died in 1941 at the age of 58. Offered a place at a Jesuit college, Joyce was meant to join the Order, but rejected Catholicism at the age of 16; a decision reflected in several of his novels. Instead he enrolled at University College Dublin, becoming heavily involved in the literary scene and producing his first piece of published work; a review of Ibsen's drama for which he received a note of thanks from the man himself. Yet his experiences over the subsequent years were far from savoury. The death of Joyce's mother induced a serious bout of drinking which never truly abated until his death, and by 1904, he was living in self-imposed exile with former chambermaid Nora Barnacle. Upon moving back to Dublin eight years later, Joyce attempted to supplement his income through several schemes, thought to include the trading of Irish tweeds, and plans to become a cinema tycoon. Yet ultimately Joyce found that his only solace, and real monetary reward, lay in the writing for which he had a remarkable talent. Considered alongside Virginia Woolf as one of the foremost modernist writers, Joyce's most famous works include 'Dubliners' and 'Ulysses'; the latter enduring a censorship for obscenity, to become one of the best known books of the 20th century.

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