James Joyce

James Joyce

Book - 1999
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With the majestic storytelling that have made her one of Ireland's preeminent writers, novelist Edna O'Brien paints a passionate, personal, and sensuous portrait of James Joyce, the great literary master.
Publisher: New York : Viking Penguin, 1999.
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780670882304
0670882305
Branch Call Number: 823.912 Joyce -O 3701 1
Characteristics: x, 179 pages

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lukasevansherman
Apr 08, 2015

"Of all the great Irish writers, Joyce's relationship with his country remains the most incensed and yet the most meditative. . .He determined to reinvent the city where he had been marginalized, laughed and barred from literary circles. He would be the poet of his race."
James Joyce's magnum opus, "Ulysses" (1922), is often called the greatest novel of the 20th century. It's certainly the most novel of the 20th century, attempting to embrace thousands of years of literature and the city of Dublin. It's an exceedingly difficult book and it's hard to say whether it pointed forward to a new kind of novel or was the summation (and perhaps dead end of the novel). Despite its allusiveness and obtuseness, it has entered popular culture and is one of the few books that merits its own day, Bloomsday, celebrated on the day the novel is set (June 16). "Dubliners" and "Portrait of the Artist" are far more accessible and beloved works, but anyone who cares about Joyce will have to brave "Ulysses" (don't get me started on "Finnegans Wake). Irish writer Edna O'Brien offers a brief, but insightful and witty look at Joyce's life and work. Like many Irish writers, he loved his country but also found the Church, his family (long suffering mother, hard drinking father), and the nationalism of some of his peers stifling. Ireland's greatest novelist would immortalize Dublin while living on the continent, where he spent much of his adult life. O'Brien makes sense of his genius, while offering a look at his writing process and his relationships with his wife Nora, his brother Stanislaus, and fellow writers like Beckett and Yeats. Richard Ellman's biography is considered the definitive one, but this is a fine introduction to Joyce and his work that will encourage further reading. "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."-Stephen Dedalus

u
uncommonreader
Dec 18, 2012

O'Brien distills the essence of Joyce in this short life, which she relates with love. The focus is on Ulysses, and along the way O'Brien debunks many myths about Joyce. It is an intelligent tribute, beautifully written.

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