James Joyce

James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882, the oldest of ten children in a Catholic family. He attended Jesuit schools and, in 1904, moved first to Trieste, then Paris, with Nora Barnacle; they married in 1931. After publishing his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in 1916, Joyce developed glaucoma, and his eyesight steadily diminished for the rest of his life. His seminal novel Ulysses was published by his friend Sylvia Beach out of her Paris bookstore.Joyce died in Zurich in 1941.
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A daring work of experimental, Modernist genius, James Joyce's Finnegans Wake is one of the greatest literary achievements of the twentieth century, and the crowning glory of Joyce's life. The Penguin Modern Classics edition of includes an introduction by Seamus Deane

'riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs'

Joyce's final work, Finnegan's Wake is his masterpiece of the night as Ulysses is of the day. Supreme linguistic virtuosity conjures up the dark underground worlds of sexuality and dream. Joyce undermines traditional storytelling and all official forms of English and confronts the different kinds of betrayal - cultural, political and sexual - that he saw at the heart of Irish history. Dazzlingly inventive, with passages of great lyrical beauty and humour, Finnegans Wake remains one of the most remarkable works of the twentieth century.

James Joyce (1882-1941), the eldest of ten children, was born in Dublin, but exiled himself to Paris at twenty as a rebellion against his upbringing. He only returned to Ireland briefly from the continent but Dublin was at heart of his greatest works, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. He lived in poverty until the last ten years of his life and was plagued by near blindness and the grief of his daughter's mental illness.

If you enjoyed Finnegans Wake, you might like Virginia Woolf's The Waves, also available in Penguin Classics.

'An extraordinary performance, a transcription into a miniaturized form of the whole western literary tradition'
Seamus Deane

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