Familiar to many a literary professor, student, or critic alike, James Joyce was an Irish author whose popularity remains pervasive throughout the literary world. Joyce was born on February 2 1882, in Dublin to a large family. This writer, who was the eldest of 10 children, was an accomplished man of the world who spoke numerous languages, and his travels are the envy of any aspiring vagabond. As a prolific author, Joyce published several successful works; however, he is undoubtedly best known for his Ulysses. If the name “James Joyce” falls unrecognized upon ears, surely the name Ulysses rings the bell of familiarity. Published in Paris in 1922, Ulysses was praised for its groundbreaking style in the world of literature of that time. However, the modern novel structured around the Odyssey was also criticized for being a hard read.
Besides Ulysses, some of Joyce’s more famous stories include: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Araby, Eveline, Finnegan’s Wake, and The Dead– just to name a few. In addition to his own individual works, Joyce was well known for his involvement in the avant-garde movement.
Merriam-Webster defines avant-garde as: “a group of people who develop new and often very surprising ideas in art, literature, etc.” French in origin, the name “avant-garde” was used to refer to the “vanguards” of art forms. The movement was a volatile voice in the world of literature during Joyce’s time, and he contributed significantly to the movement through his writing. Indeed, he was, and is, praised as an author who took new approaches to literature.
Perhaps it is for his ingenuity and marvelous style that Joyce remains widely read in places far away from his homeland. Even if one has not had the pleasure of flipping the pages of one of Joyce’s works, the longevity of his fame proves his valuable contribution to the field of literature.