It also thought to be the day that he had his first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle. He was as mythical as the myths he used as the foundations for his own work. As an adult, Joyce would publish his first book, a collection of poems called Chamber Music, in It was followed by Dubliners, a collection of short stories, in , and the semi-autobiographical A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in which Clongowes Wood College is prominently featured in By the time Nora Barnacle and Joyce finally married in , they had lived together for 27 years, traveled the continent and had two children.
The couple first met in Dublin in when Joyce struck up a conversation with her near the hotel where Nora worked as a chambermaid. I went home quite dejected. I would like to make an appointment but it might not suit you.
I hope you will be kind enough to make one with me—if you have not forgotten me! She would continue to be his muse throughout their life together in both his published work the character Molly Bloom in Ulysses is based on her and their fruitful personal correspondence.
Joyce suffered from anterior uveitis, which led to a series of around 12 eye surgeries over his lifetime. Due to the relatively unsophisticated state of ophthalmology at the time, and his decision not to listen to contemporary medical advice, scholars speculate that his iritis, glaucoma, and cataracts could have been caused by sarcoidosis, syphilis, tuberculosis, or any number of congenital problems.
His vision issues caused Joyce to wear an eye patch for years and forced him to do his writing on large white sheets of paper using only red crayon. The persistent eye struggles even inspired him to name his daughter Lucia, after St. Lucia, patron saint of the blind. In , Joyce—eager to get out of Ireland—responded to an ad for a teaching position in Europe. Evelyn Gilford , a job agent based in the British town of Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, notified Joyce that a job was reserved for him and, for two guineas, he would be told exactly where the position was.
Joyce sent the money, and by the end of , he and his future wife, Nora, had left Dublin for the job at a Berlitz language school in Zurich, Switzerland—but when they got there, the pair learned there was no open position.
But they did hear a position was open at a Berlitz school in Trieste, Italy. English was one of 17 languages Joyce could speak; others included Arabic, Sanskrit, Greek, and Italian which eventually became his preferred language, and one that he exclusively spoke at home with his family. He also loved playwright Henrik Ibsen so much that he learned Norwegian so that he could read Ibsen's works in their original form—and send the writer a fan letter in his native tongue.
More a money-making scheme than a product of a love of cinema, Joyce first got the idea when he was having trouble getting Dubliners published and noticed the abundance of cinemas while living in Trieste. After not attracting audiences due to mostly showing only Italian and European movies unpopular with everyday Dubliners, Joyce cut his losses and pulled out of the venture after only seven months.
The publishing history of Ulysses is itself its own odyssey. Joyce began writing the work in , and by he had begun serializing the novel in the American magazine Little Review with the help of poet Ezra Pound. But by , Little Review was in financial trouble. Joyce, then based in Paris, made friends with Sylvia Beach , whose bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, was a gathering hub for the post-war expatriate creative community.
In her autobiography , Beach wrote: All hope of publication in the English-speaking countries, at least for a long time to come, was gone. And here in my little bookshop sat James Joyce, sighing deeply. It occurred to me that something might be done, and I asked: I thought it rash of him to entrust his great Ulysses to such a funny little publisher. But he seemed delighted, and so was I. Undeterred by lack of capital, experience, and all the other requisites of a publisher, I went right ahead with Ulysses.
Beach planned a first edition of copies with signed by the author , while the book would continue to be banned in a number of countries throughout the s and s.
Eventually it was allowed to be published in the United States in after the case United States v. Ernest Hemingway—who was major champion of Ulysses—met Joyce at Shakespeare and Company, and was later a frequent companion among the bars of Paris with writers like Wyndham Lewis and Valery Larbaud. Hemingway recalled the Irish writer would start to get into drunken fights and leave Hemingway to deal with the consequences. He was afraid of some things, lightning and things, but a wonderful man.
He was under great discipline—his wife, his work and his bad eyes. His wife was there and she said, yes, his work was too suburban--'Jim could do with a spot of that lion hunting. He couldn't even see the man so he'd say, 'Deal with him, Hemingway! Proust arrived even later than Joyce, and though there are varying accounts of what was actually said between the two, every known version points to a very anticlimactic meeting of the minds. What am I going to do? In fact, I must leave at once.
The fear haunted the writer all his life, though Joyce recognized the beginnings of his phobia. Fellow Modernist Virginia Woolf didn't much care for Joyce or his work. In a letter, D. Nothing but old fags and cabbage stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest stewed in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.
Wells wrote in his review of Finnegans Wake. Who the hell is this Joyce who demands so many waking hours of the few thousand I have still to live for a proper appreciation of his quirks and fancies and flashes of rendering? Joyce was admitted to a Zurich hospital in January for a perforated duodenal ulcer, but slipped into a coma after surgery and died on January His last words were befitting his notoriously difficult works—they're said to have been, "Does nobody understand?