James Augustine Aloysius Joyce

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A brief history of James Joyce

1882 — On February 2 James Joyce is born to Mary and John Stanislaus Joyce in Rathgar, south of Dublin's city centre. Also in 1882, the Invincibles assassinate the chief-secretary and under-secretary in the Phoenix Park; later Joyce will frequently allude to this event in both Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

1884 — In Galway, Nora Barnacle is born to Thomas and Annie Barnacle on March 21.

1888 — In September, James Joyce enters Ireland's most prestigious school, the Jesuit run Clongowes Wood College. Aged "half-past six" he is the school's youngest ever pupil. Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Home Rule party, is embroiled in a scandal after being denounced by the Catholic church and members of his own party as a result of being named as the co-respondent in a celebrated divorce trial. For Joyce, the reaction to Parnell's breach of the accepted sexual code came to symbolise Ireland's hypocrisy and repression and acted as a harbinger of his family's financial woes.

1891 — In June, Joyce is withdrawn from Clongowes because of his father's inability to pay the school's fees. Parnell dies a broken man and later Joyce writes the poem "Et Tu, Healy" about the betrayal of the leader by Tim Healy, a close supporter.

1893 — The family's declining fortunes forces a reluctant John Joyce to send James and his siblings to a Christian Brothers' school. In April, however, Joyce enrolls in Belvedere College, another Jesuit school, thanks to the assistance of Father John Conmee — a character who reappears in Ulysses.

1896 — On a religious retreat, Joyce is treated to a Father John A. Cullen's graphic depiction of hell-fire and eternal damnation. It left an impression on the young Joyce who later re-creates this retreat and the priest's sermons in vivid detail for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

1897 — As a result of his an excellent performance in examinations and his success in an essay competition, Joyce wins a prestigious academic prize complete with pecuniary benefits.

1898 — Joyce finishes his secondary schooling at Belvedere and during the summer, before starting university, he begins visiting brothels in a seedy part of town north of the Liffey. In the autumn of he matriculates at University College Dublin as a poor but brilliant student who paid scant attention to the formal syllabus.

1899 — Yeats's Countess Cathleen opens in May and is promptly damned by all and sundry for portraying the nationalist cause in a less than flattering light. Joyce, attends the opening performance but refuses to join the majority of his peers in condemning the play as heretical, unethical, and anti-Irish. In the same year Joyce presents a paper, entitled "Drama and Life" to the University's Literary and Historical Society.

1900 — As an undergraduate Joyce publishes an article on Ibsen's "When We Dead Awaken" in the Fortnightly Review. He receives a letter of appreciation from Ibsen and is profoundly moved as Ibsen his literary idol.

1901 — Joyce writes "The Day of the Rabblement" attacking the Irish theatrical movement, but is refused permission to publish it in the University's magazine. Joyce's friend, a radical feminist named Francis Skeffington, also has an article turned down for publication that year so the two classmates decide to publish their work at their own expense, hiring a local printer to produce a pamphlet containing both "The Day of the Rabblement" and Skeffington's essay, "A Forgotten Aspect of the University Question", which argued for the rights of Irish women to attend the national University.

1902 — Joyce graduates from UCD and leaves for Paris, thinking he might attend medical school there. But he soon gave up attending lectures and devoted his time to writing poetry, prose and developing an 'aesthetic system'.

1903 — He is informed of his mother's terminal illness in April and returns to Dublin. Mary Joyce dies on August 13.

1904 — Joyce meets Galway woman Nora Barnacle in June and begins 'walking out with her' on June 16 — a day later to be immortalised as Bloomsday. That September, he lives for a brief time with Oliver St. John Gogarty and Samuel Chenevix Trench in the Martello tower at Sandycove. Both are featured in Ulysses as Buck Mulligan and the hapless Haines. On October 8, James and Nora leave Dublin for continental Europe and after a number of misadventures, the couple eventually find themselves in Pola — now in the former Yugoslavia — where Joyce teaches English at a Berlitz School.

1905 — In March the Austro-Hungarian Empire expels all foreigners from Pola, and the Joyces move to nearby Trieste, where Joyce finds work in another Berlitz School. Nora gives birth to the couple's first son, Giorgio, in Trieste on 27 July. In October Stanislaus Joyce, Joyce's brother, joins Jim, Nora, and Giorgio in Trieste at James's prompting.

1906 — The Joyces move to Rome, where Joyce finds work in a bank and gives private English classes. Despite the substantial increase in income, Joyce hate Rome, perhaps because of his experience working in a bank and the Joyce family's stay is brief. Apart from teaching in language schools and giving occasional private classes as necessity required he never again worked for anyone else.

1907 — The Joyces return to Trieste where Nora gives birth to a daughter, Lucia. Joyce finishes "The Dead", the final, and finest, story in Dubliners. Joyce begins to revise a previously discarded novel, Stephen Hero, as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

1914 — The Egoist begins to print "Portrait" in serial form on Joyce's birthday. Dubliners is published in June.

1915 — Joyce writes Exiles. The family leaves Trieste for Zurich.

1916 — Over the Easter weekend Padraig Pearse and fellow Republicans storm the GPO and other key buildings throughout Dublin and issue the Proclamation of Irish Independence. The insurrection lasts six days and leaves over 500 dead. Intense shelling from British gunboats moored in the Liffey wreaks destruction in city centre and the execution, and subsequent martyrdom, of 15 rebel leaders galvanizes Irish resistance to British rule. Among the over 300 civilian casualties of the Uprising is Joyce's former schoolmate Skeffington, an ardent pacifist who is shot by a British soldier while attempting to quell a mob of looters. She believed the looters were damaging the cause of Irish freedom. "A terrible beauty is born", writes WB Yeats in "Easter 1916". A Portrait of the Artist is published in the States in late December.

1917 — Harriet Shaw Weaver, a feminist activist and editor of The Egoist, begins her anonymous patronage of Joyce. He receives the equivalent of half-a-million pounds from her throughout his lifetime ensuring his financial independence.

1918 — In the United States, The Little Review, an avant garde magazine begins to publish episodes of Ulysses in serial form.

1920 — Joyce and family relocate to Paris and a court case in the U.S. halts the Little Review's publication of Ulysses because it is 'obscene'. Joyce meets Sylvia Beach and American bookseller in Paris.

1922 — Sylvia Beach's Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, publishes Ulysses. The Irish Free State achieves its independence from Britain but a contentious partition is established excluding six counties in the Northern part of Ireland from the remainder of the island.

1923 — Joyce starts to compose "Work in Progress" later to be published as Finnegans Wake.

1928 — Joyce meets another Irish literary exile, Samuel Beckett, in Paris.

1929 — Shakespeare and Company publishes extracts from Work in Progress.

1930 — James Joyce and Nora Barnacle marry. John Joyce, the writer's father, dies.

1932 — The Joyces' grandson, Stephen James Joyce, is born to Giorgio and his wife Helen. Lucia suffers a mental collapse and is hospitalised.

1933 — Judge John Woolsey lifts the ban on Ulysses in the United States. Judge Woolsey's decision — a landmark document in the history of literature — provides a rigid legal definition for obscenity: obscene material is that which excites "impure and lustful thoughts" in a man "with average sex instincts." According to Woolsey, Ulysses does not conform to this definition of the obscene.

1934 — The first American edition of Ulysses is published by Random House. And the eminent psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung begins to treat Joyce's daughter, Lucia.

1939 — Joyce publishes Finnegans Wake, a extraordinarily challenging work which appeared to confirm the fears of admirers like Ezra Pound that Joyce had become obsessed with language. The Second World War begins.

1940 — The Joyces leave France for neutral Switzerland.

1941 — Suffering from a perforated ulcer, Joyce dies in Zurich on 13 January.

1951 — Nora Joyce dies in Zurich.

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