Friday, May 21, 2010

The Irish Writer James Joyce

Recently I've gotten interested in the Irish writer, James Joyce.

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland on February 2, 1882, and died in Zurich, Switzerland on January 13, 1941. Joyce is often acclaimed as one of the greatest writers of his era, but his two most famous books, Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake, are rarely read. A collection of short stories, The Dubliners, might be more accessible and more widely read than his two monumental works.

I've been reading a biography of James Joyce by Richard Ellman; it could have been titled "More Than You Wanted to Know about James Joyce." I have written a biography (co-authored with Judy Bechtel Blackburn, Building the Beloved Community: Maurice McCrackin's Life for Peace and Civil Rights), so I have some sense of the work involved. Ellman's work is a quantum leap beyond our book in the detail of Joyce's life and writings. I can't imagine how Ellman found out so much! Let's just say that this is a brilliant and fascinating work, and has increased my understanding of James Joyce tremendously. [more coming]