Life and Contexts

Lee Spinks

in James Joyce A Critical Guide

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780748638352
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671632 | DOI:
Life and Contexts

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This chapter offers a brief account of James Joyce's life and literary career. The narrative of Joyce's life is punctuated by subsections dealing with issues such as the historical and political situation of late nineteenth-century Ireland, Irish political nationalism and the rise of the physical force tradition, the Irish cultural revival, and the literary and cultural ‘scandal’ of Ulysses. Joyce's father and Belvedere contributed to his personality and attitudes. The 1916 Easter Rising and the Irish Civil War of 1922–3 set the Irish political events of Joyce's lifetime. The double disappointment of failing to secure the publication of Chamber Music and Dubliners affected Joyce. The publication of Ulysses did not put an end to the controversies surrounding the novel. Finnegans Wake attracted bemused or hostile reviews. Maud Ellmann's study should still constitute the first port of call for the reader keen to discover more about Joyce's life and times.

Keywords: James Joyce; literary career; Ulysses; Ireland; Irish political nationalism; 1916 Easter Rising; Irish Civil War; Chamber Music; Dubliners; Finnegans Wake

Chapter.  18798 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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