James Joyce: riassunto schematico

James Joyce: riassunto schematico tratto dal libro Only connect (2 pagine formato doc)

Appunto di andrealc


James Joyce (1882 – 1941)
Life and works
-    James Joyce was born in Dublin and was educated at Jesuit schools, then University College, where he studied French, Italian, German and English languages and literatures.
-    He believed that the only way to increase Ireland’s awareness was by offering a realistic portrait of its life from a European viewpoint.
-    In 1904 he fell in love with Nora Barnacle, they moved to Italy (Trieste), where Joyce began teaching English and made friends with Italo Svevo.
-    In these years he had financial problems and he started to publish his work in book form:
Chamber Music (1907, 36 short poems)
Dubliners (1914, collection of short stories all about Dublin and Dublin’s life)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916, semi-autobiographical novel)
Exiles (1914, naturalistic drama)
In 1917 he received several anonymous donations which enabled him to continue writing Ulysses (1922, Paris)
Finnegans Wake (1939).

James Joyce: pensiero, tematiche e caratteristiche


Ordinary Dublin.

Joyce went into voluntary exile at the age of twenty-two, he set all his works mostly in the city of Dublin.
He wanted to give a realist portrait of the life of ordinary people doing ordinary things and he represented the man’s mental, emotional and biological reality.
The rebellion against the Church. The meticulous mind of Joyce was formed by the Jesuit, but he challenged Catholicism.
His hostility was the revolt of the artist-heretic against the official doctrine, because the Church had taken possession of Irish minds; but it was also a conflict between a son and his parents linked to the quest for his artistic potentialities.
Poor eye-sight. Joyce was almost blind, but this physical problem was compensated by his sense of ear (sound of words was very important to him).
Subjective perception of time. Joyce re-worked his themes, which gradually become less relevant than the “narrative” itself, the facts are always explored from different points of view and are presented as “clues” and not through the voice of an omniscient narrator.
Joyce’s stories and novels open in medias res, with the analysis of a particular moment and the portrait of the character is based on introspection rather than on description.


Time is not perceived as objective but as subjective, leading to psychological change.
The impersonality of the artist Joyce believed in the impersonality of the artist because he was influenced by Flaubert and Baudelaire; the artist’s task was to describe life objectively and give a true image of it, even if this behaviour led him to the isolation and detachment from society.
Joyce used different point of view and narrative techniques appropriate to the several characters portrayed, he developed his style, technique and language from the realism and the disciplined prose of the Dubliners.
The use of free direct speech, epiphany and interior monologue was important to give a realistic framework to the characters and so the language was a succession of words without punctuation or grammar connections.
Reality became a psychological projection.


Dubliners. The origin of the collection. Joyce represented lower-middle-class Dubliners as afflicted people because of the oppressive effects of religious, political, cultural and economic forces their lives. Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories, which disclose human situation and led to a moral, social or spiritual revelation.

The stories are arranged into four groups: the opening ones deal with childhood and youth in Dublin, the others concern the middle years of characters and their social, political or religious affairs.
The last story, The Death, can be considered Joyce’s first masterpiece and it is more elaborate and remarkable than the other fourteen; the stories are hold together by a particular structure and the presence of the same themes, symbols and narrative techniques.