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James Joyce (1882-1941)

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Aliona Kolesnik

Form 11-C

James Joyce



James Joyce was the first who introduce the psychological discoveries of S. Freud into fiction. He did not write very much, but what he wrote was revolutionary. After his first books, “The Dubliners” – brilliant short stories of simple citizens of Dublin – and “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” – an auto biographical report of his own youth – he developed the rest of his own life only to two books. The first, “Ulysses” , takes us through the idle wanderings of a Dublin Jew, Leopold Bloom, from the beginning to the end of one single day. The fusion of facts and feelings, of external events and internal reflections is so disconcerting that you are often puzzled, sometimes bored and sometimes left like an idiot. But reading on, you are so inevitably forced into the dark and mysterious atmosphere of the hero’s life and thoughts that you cannot evade the singular “streams of consciousness” which to bring forth is the author’s single aim. Even move complicated and difficult to read is his second book: “Finnegan’s Wake”, which adds to the day-light of consciousness the confusing night-dreams of the subconscious, a single stream of incomprehensible mysteries and visions, floating like broken fragments of the mind in the vast ocean of the human soul”. – In order to get a first impression of Joyce’s psychological attempts it is better to begin with his early autobiographical work, in which the often quoted “Stream of Consciousness” can already be observed.

Early Works

Later Works

Joyce attained international fame with the publication (1922) of Ulysses, a novel, the themes of which are based on Homer's Odyssey. Primarily concerned with a 24-hour period in the life of an Irish Jew, Leopold Bloom, Ulysses describes also the same day in the life of Stephen Dedalus, and the story reaches its climax in the meeting of the two characters. The main themes are Bloom's symbolic search for a son and Dedalus's growing sense of dedication as a writer. Joyce further developed the stream-of-consciousness technique in this work as a remarkable means of character portrayal, combining it with the use of mimicry of speech and the parody of literary styles as an overall literary method. Finnegans Wake (1939), Joyce's last and most complex work, is an attempt to embody in fiction a cyclical theory of history. The novel is written in the form of an interrupted series of dreams during one night in the life of the character Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. Symbolizing all humanity, Earwicker, his family, and his acquaintances blend, as characters do in dreams, with one another and with various historical and mythical figures. Joyce carried his linguistic experimentation to its furthest point in Finnegans Wake by writing English as a composite language based on combinations of parts of words from various languages. His other late publications include two collections of verse, Pomes Penyeach (1927) and Collected Poems (1936), and Stephen Hero, which, although not published until 1944, was an early version of A Portrait. Joyce employed symbols to create what he called an “epiphany,” the revelation of certain inner qualities. Thus, the earlier writings reveal individual moods and characters and the plight of Ireland and the Irish artist in the early 1900s. The two later works reveal his characters in all their complexity as artists and lovers and in the various aspects of their family relationships. Using experimental techniques to convey the essential nature of realistic situations, Joyce merged in his greatest works the literary traditions of realism, naturalism, and symbolism.

P o e m s

All day I hear the noise of waters

Making moan,

Sad as the sea-bird is, when going

Forth alone,

He hears the winds call to the waters,


The grey winds the cold winds are blowing

Where I go.

I hear the noise o»many waters

Far below.

All day, all night I hear them flowing

To and fro.

Весь день я слушал звуки вод.

Их нежный стон,

Как альбатроса грустный зов.