Joyce was born into a middle-class family in Dublin, where he excelled as a student at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, then at University College Dublin. In his early twenties he emigrated permanently to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris, and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, "For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal."
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born on 2 February 1882 to John Stanislaus Joyce and Mary Jane "May" Murray in the Dublin suburb of Rathgar. He was baptized according to the Rites of the Catholic Church in the nearby St Joseph's Church in Terenure on 5 February by Rev. John O'Mulloy. His godparents were Philip and Ellen McCann. He was the eldest of ten surviving children; two of his siblings died of typhoid. His father's family, originally from Fermoy in Cork, had once owned a small salt and lime works. Joyce's father and paternal grandfather both married into wealthy families, though the family's purported ancestor, Seán Mór Seoighe (fl. 1680) was a stonemason from Connemara. In 1887, his father was appointed rate collector (i.e., a collector of local property taxes) by Dublin Corporation; the family subsequently moved to the fashionable adjacent small town of Bray 12 miles (19 km) from Dublin. Around this time Joyce was attacked by a dog, which engendered in him a lifelong cynophobia. He also suffered from astraphobia, as a superstitious aunt had described thunderstorms to him as a sign of God's wrath.
In 1891 Joyce wrote a poem on the death of Charles Stewart Parnell. His father was angry at the treatment of Parnell by the Catholic church and at the resulting failure to secure Home Rule for Ireland. The elder Joyce had the poem printed and even sent a part to the Vatican Library. In November of that same year, John Joyce was entered in Stubbs Gazette (a publisher of bankruptcies) and suspended from work. In 1893, John Joyce was dismissed with a pension, beginning the family's slide into poverty caused mainly by John's drinking and general financial mismanagement.
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About the Author
One of the 20th century's greatest writers, James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882, and his native city is at the heart of his best-known books: Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, and the short story collection Dubliners. His flowing, sometimes musical, often challenging prose has provoked and inspired generations of readers. He died in 1941.
Date of Birth:February 2, 1882
Date of Death:January 13, 1941
Place of Birth:Dublin, Ireland
Place of Death:Zurich, Switzerland
Education:B.A., University College, Dublin, 1902