James Joyce: A Brief Biographical Chronology (Life)

Family records Paris homes Chron. of Works

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James Augustine Joyce [JAJ] b. 6.00 a.m., 2 Feb. (Candlemas), 41 Brighton Square West, Rathgar, Dublin, and bapt. in Catholic religion; son of John Stanislaus Joyce [JSJ], of reputedly Anglo-Norman descent, claiming kinship with O’Connell through his paternal grandmother, and of Mary Jane (“May”) Joyce, née Murray;


JSJ a rates-collector attached to Dublin Corporation, moves to 1 Martello Tce., Bray, a good address in a fashionable new suburb at easy train-ride distance from Dublin city; as eldest son, Joyce enjoys advantages of a upper-middle class childhood;


JAJ enters Clongowes Wood, a boarding-school run by the Jesuit Fathers for the better-off Catholic boys in Ireland; distinguishes himself as a gifted student and faces down Fr James Daly (Dolan in A Portrait) over broken glasses;


JAJ writes “Et Tu Healy” following the death of Parnell (7 Oct. 1891), a poem expressing strong attachment to the doomed Irish Home Rule leader who died after being rejected by the Irish clergy in the wake of his affair with Kitty O’Shea;


Joyces move to “Leoville” at Carysfort Ave., Blackrock; JAJ comes home from school and does not return in the new term, his father having fallen under censure in his working life; Christmas dinner events in A Portrait possibly at this address (if not in Bray the year before);


JSJ loses post in Corporation with pension; family moves to 14 Fitzgibbon St. in the Dublin’s “inner city”, adjac. to Mountjoy Sq. (NE corner); JAJ briefly attends Christian Brothers’ School at N. Richmond St. before being taken free of charge by Jesuits at Belvedere College after his father fortuitously meets Fr. Conmee;


JAJ wins £20 prize in Intermediate Examinations, summer 1894; reads Charles Lamb’s The Adventures of Ulysses as part of Syllabus; Joyce family moves to Millbourne Avenue, Drumcondra; JSJ sells off remaining property in Cork, bringing JAJ to that city with him;


JAJ Intermediate Prize of £20 for three years; offered and refuses a place with Dominicans nr. Dublin; develops interest in romantic poetry of Lord Byron and novels of Dumas; elected to Sodality of Blessed Virgin at Belvedere; JAJ prevents his father’s violent attack on his mother;


Joyces moves to 13 N. Richmond St., where JAJ has ‘spanking match’ with the slavey (the last maid the family will have); moves to 29 Windsor Ave., Fairview later in the year; JAJ hears ‘hellfire’ sermon at Belvedere and is appt. Prefect of Sodality of Mary;


JAJ grows friendly with the Sheehys - school contemporaries - and acts in school play; takes a prize of £30 for 2 years in state examinations and graduates from school; makes Sunday evening visits to the home of David Sheehy (Nat. M.P.) and his family, 2 Belvedere Place;


JAJ has sex with a prostitute, confessing afterwards in the Carmelite Church; commences Matriculation for Royal University (UCD); reads non-curricular authors incl. Meredith, Hardy and Shaw; encounters the works of Henrik Ibsen in ‘moment of radiant simultaneity’ [SH];


JAJ attends W. B. Yeats’s The Countess Cathleen and refuses to join nationalist protest against it; commences reading in the National Library; writes a review of Munkacsy’s painting “Ecce Homo”; makes contact with the Fortnightly Review; family moves to 13 Richmond Ave., Fairview, sharing the house with the Hughes family;


JAJ delivers “Drama and Life” (10 Jan.), lecture at Literary and Historical Soc. [fam. L & H] in UCD; “Ibsen’s New Drama”, his review of When We Dead Awaken appears in Fortnightly Review (1 April 1900); visits London with his father; receives message of thanks from Ibsen through Wm. Archer; travels to Mullingar with JSJ; writes A Brilliant Career - 4 act play on doctor facing epidemic; panned in letter from Archer;


JAJ learns Norwegian and writes to Ibsen (March 1901); translates Hauptmann’s Vor Sonnenaufgang [Before Sunrise]; publishes “The Day of the Rabblement” (14 Oct. 1901) charging the Irish Literary Theatre with provincialism (‘property of the rabblement of the most belated race in Europe&146;; writes the first of his ‘epiphanies’, using an intensely realist technique;


JAJ writes Dream Stuff, a verse drama, and translates Hauptmann’s Michael Kramer; gives paper on Mangan at L. & H. (1 Feb. 1902); meets George Russell and Yeats (JJ to WBY: ‘You are too old for me to help you’); reads at Marsh’s Library; graduates from UCD; travels to Paris with unviable plan of studying medicine there; returns home for Christmas;


JAJ goes back to Paris; reads Aristotle in Bibliothèque Ste. Génèvieve; begins aesthetic journal (“Paris Notebook”); meets J. M. Synge and criticises Riders to the Sea for Aristotelian failings; writes book-reviews for Daily Express; received telegram: “Mother dying come home father”, 13 April; suffers death of May Joyce, 13 Aug.;


JAJ begins to ‘drink riotously’ and freqents brothels; writes “Portrait Essay” (7 January 1904); makes collection of poems (Chamber Music); contributes 3 stories to Irish Homestead [later pub. in Dubliners]; stays with Gogarty at Sandycove Martello; meets Nora Barnacle, 10 June; goes out with her, 16 June; leaves Ireland with her, 8 Oct.; travels to Paris and Trieste in search of teaching job;


JAJ takes English-teaching post in Pola (Yugoslavia); works on Stephen Hero (autobiographical novel); returns to Trieste on invitation of Almidano Artifoni (Berlitz dir.), March; prints copies of “The Holy Office” for circulation in Dublin; Giorgio, a son, b. July; 3 new stories rejected by Irish Homestead; JAJ sends 12 Dubliners stories to London publisher Grant Richards (3 Dec. 1905); Stanislaus leaves Dublin for Trieste, 15 Oct.;


Richards agrees to publish Dubliners, 7 Feb.; his printer refuses to print word ‘bloody’ (in “Two Gallants”) causing Richards to repudiate the contract with JAJ; offers Chamber Music to Elkin Mathews (London); JAJ takes bank-job in Rome and travels there, end of July; quits bank and turns to teaching instead, Nov.; plans new Dubliners story based on Mr. Hunter;


Elkin Mathews accepts Chamber Music, Jan. (pub. May); JAJ quits Roman bank, Feb.; mugged on last night, losing salary in cash; receives recriminatory letter from JSJ; return to Trieste with family, March; Dubliners rejected by several publishers; JAJ writes on Ireland for Piccola della Serra (Trieste) and gives 3 lectures at Università del Popolo; suffers rheumatic fever and enters Ospedale Civico, mid-July; Lucia, a daughter, born 26 July, in charity ward of same; JAJ completes “The Dead” during convalescence (6 Sept); Mathews refuses to publish Dubliners;


Maunsel & Co. show interest in Dubliners, Feb.; JAJ continues to hope for London publisher; briefly renounces drink for Nora, Feb.; translates Synge’s Riders to the Sea into Italian; Nora suffers a miscarriage, without regret; JAJ contemplates singing career and takes professional singing lessons (which remained unpaid); plans to import Irish tweed to Trieste; commences wholesale revision of Stephen Hero as A Portrait in 5 chaps., completing Chap. 3 in Nov. 1908;


JAJ sends Dubliners to Maunsel, April; visits Dublin with Giorgio and signs contract with Joseph Hone (prop. Maunsel), Aug.; takes Giorgio to Galway; Vincent Cosgrave claims he had intimacy with Nora in 1904; JAJ exchanges abject and erotic letters with Nora; travels to Galway with Giorgio, 26 Aug.; returns to Trieste with his sister Eva, 13 Sept.; returns to Dublin to open the Volta cinema for two Triestino businessmen, arriving 20 Oct.; writes erotic letters to Nora; the “Volta” opens in Dublin, 20 Dec.;


JAJ returns to Trieste with sister Eileen, 2 Jan.; suffers serious damage to eye while lying out in drinking bout; required to make changes to Dubliners by Roberts, and agrees, March; the “Volta” sold with 49% losses, July; Stanislaus moves out of the Joyce apartment after a quarrel over money; JAJ threatens George Roberts of Maunsel with exposure and legal action, July; Roberts agrees on date of publication for Dubliners for 20 Jan. following, Dec.;


Roberts objects to “Ivy Day” in Dubliners; JAJ purportedly throws the Portrait manuscript into the fire (rescued by Eileen); Eva becomes homesick and returns to Dublin, July; JAJ writes to Sinn Féin and the Northern Whig exposing Maunsels’ dealings with him, Aug-Sept.; JAJ encourages Nora to accept the attentions of Roberto Preziosa but later publicly assails Preziosa;


JAJ gives lectures on Defoe and Blake (“Realism and Idealism”) at Università (Trieste); sits teachers’ exam in Padua and scores highly, 24-26 April; Dublin BA degree not recognised; JAJ allows Nora to travel to Ireland, July, and follows her after with Giorgio on not hearing promptly; argues for Dubliners with Maunsel and gets 1 set of galleys ‘by a ruse’; leaves Dublin, Sept.;


JAJ publishes “Gas from a Burner”; Dubliners rejected again by Elkin Mathews, April; JAJ has mild affair with Amalia Popper and writes Giacomo Joyce; prepares notes for Exiles, dated Nov.; receives letter from Grant Richards, 25 Nov., renewing queries about Dubliners; receives introductory letter from Ezra Pound, dated 15 Dec.; Yeats finds a poem by JAJ and gives it to Pound (“I hear an army charging upon the land” - printed in Des Imagistes/The Imagists, 1914); Pound enquires about his other writings;


JAJ completes revision of A Portrait, Chap. 1, and sends it with Dubliners to Pound, mid. Jan.; Grant Richards responds to JAJ’s letter about Dubliners and agrees to publish, 29 Jan.; A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man serialised in The Egoist (2 Feb. 1914-1 Aug. 1914); JAJ commences work on Ulysses March 1, 1914; Richards publishes Dubliners as book, 15 June 1914; JAJ sends third chapter of A Portrait to Pound, late July; resumes delivery of Portrait chapters, Nov.;


Stanislaus interned, Jan., JAJ untouched by Italian govt. at outbreak of war; Joyces receive Swiss visas on undertaking to remain ‘non-combatant’; Italians declare war, May; Joyces leave for Switzerland, Zurich, 30 June; JAJ receives support from Royal Literary Fund, July 1915; A Portrait rejected by Martin Secker (London); Eileen marries Frantisek Schaurek, a bank-clerk; final episode of A Portrait reaches Pound July/Aug. 1915 and appears in Egoist, 1 Sept 1915;


Joyces settle in Zurich, living chiefly at 73 Seefeldstrasse; JAJ receives weekly support from Society of Authors at Pound’s suggestion, and later a Civil List grant, Aug.; Exiles rejected by The Stage Society, July; A Portrait published by Ben Huebsch in New York, 30 Dec. 1916; also Dubliners, using Richards’ sheets;


A Portrait published in London by The Egoist Press, 12 Jan. 1917, using Huebsch’s sheets; JAJ suffers attack of glaucoma, Feb.-March; receives £50 quarterly support from ‘anon. admirer’ (Harriet Shaw Weaver), 22 Feb.; JAJ undergoes first of 10 eye operations 18 Aug., and recuperates at Locarno after nervous collapse;


JAJ returns to Zurich, Jan.; receives 1,000 francs a month from Edith Rockefeller MacCormick; Ulysses appears serially in The Little Review, NY (March 1918-Dec. 1920); forms English Players with Claud Sykes and produces Importance of Being Earnest; engages in law suit British Consul employee, April; Exiles published by Richards, May; wins first suit against Carr, 15 Oct.; engages in flirtation with Marthe Fleischmann, mistress of Zurich businessman; the Schaureks return to Trieste;


JAJ loses second suit against Carr, 11 Feb., and issued open letter, April; Fleischmann enters asylum, 2 Feb.; JAJ receives £5,000 capital form Miss Weaver; Exiles published by Huebsch, 7 Aug., and produced as Verbannte in Munich, Aug.; funds from Mrs McCormick stopped; JAJ meets Frank Budgen; Joyces return to Trieste, mid-Oct. 1919;


Joyces briefly settles back in Trieste (staying with Eileen and her husband); Stanislaus resumes position at commercial high school, now Trieste University; JAJ meets Pound at Sirmione, 8 June; Joyces move to Paris on Pound’s suggestion, 8 July; JAJ meets Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare & Co. (rue de l’Odéon), 11 July; Beach offers to publish Ulysses, April; JAJ gains support of leading French critic Valèry Larbaud;


Little Review ceases printing Ulysses after obscenity charge is upheld in New York court, Feb.; JAJ meets Arthur Power, who keeps record of his conversation, and Stuart Gilbert, who prepares a book on Ulysses; Larbaud identifies ‘monologue intérieur’ at public lecture in Adrienne Monnier’s bookshop (also rue de l’Odéon), 7 Dec. 1921;


Ulysses published in Paris by Shakespeare & Co., 2 Feb. 1922; Nora visits Galway against JAJ’s wishes, 1 April, and comes under fire in Irish Civil War; JAJ suffers acute iritis; Nora agrees to read some of Ulysses; Joyces travel to London, meeting Miss Weaver; JAJ has eyes drained by leaches, Nov.;


JAJ begins “Work in Progress” [later Finnegans Wake] with “King Roderick O’Conor” episode, 10 March; JAJ has 3 eye-related operations (entailing removal of all teeth), 3, 15 & 28 April; Joyces visit London and Bognor Regis; JAJ receives further £12,000 capital from Miss Weaver;


JAJ indignant at John Quinn’s sale of Ulysses MS to . W. B. Rosenbach, for £2,000; “Work in Progress” extract published in transatlantic review (April 1924); selection of Ulysses in French appears in Commerce (Summer 1924); JAJ undergoes further eye operations, 10 June & 29 Nov.; JAJ commissions Patrick Tuohy paints portrait of JAJ, May 1924; visits Brittany;


JAJ undergoes eye operation, 15 April; fragment of “Work in Progress” appears in Criterion (July 1925); Criterion printer refuses “Anna Livia Plurabelle”, which Joyce offers to Navire d’Argent (pub. 1 Oct.); Joyces travel to Fécamp, Normandy; returns to Paris and settles into 2 Square Robiac; further eye operations, 8 & 12 Dec.;


“Work in Progress” extract in This Quarter (1925/26); Stanislaus visits Paris and dismisses “Work in Progress”; Joyces travel to Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels, and visits Waterloo; Joyce organises campaign against Samuel Roth, who pirated Ulysses in America; undergoes eye operation, June; Pound writes to JAJ disparaging “Work in Progress” as ‘circumambient peripherisation’, Nov.;


“Work in Progress” espoused by Eugene Jolas, as principal example of ‘revolution of the word’ and printed in transition (April-Nov. 1927 & Nov. 1929, and more intermittently up to April-May 1938); Pomes Penyeach issued by Shakespeare & Co., 7 July; JAJ attacked by Wyndham in Time and Western Man;


JAJ suffers inflammation of the intestine; receives injections of arsenic and phosphorus in his eyes; Stanislaus m. Nellie Lichtensteiger, Aug.; Joyces travel to Salzburg; Anna Livia Plurabelle published in New York, Oct.; JAJ suggests the James Stephens finishes “Work in Progress” if he goes blind;


Nora undergoes hysterectomy; Ulysses published in French (Feb.); JAJ undergoes eye operations; Tales Told of Shem and Shaun published by Black Sun Press (Aug.); JAJ records “Anna Livia Plurabelle” for gramaphone in London; Exagmination (on “Work in Progress”) published, May; invites James Stephens to finish “Work in Progress”; starts campaign for John O’Sullivan, Irish tenor, Nov.;


JAJ vetoes Carl Jung’s introduction to German trans. of Ulysses; JAJ makes friends with Paul Léon; Herbert Gorman begins biography of JAJ; Sylvia Beach surrenders world rights in Ulysses at JAJ’s insistence; undergoes eye operation, May (Prof. Alfred Vogt at Zurich); Giorgio m. Helen Kastor Fleischman, 10 Dec.;


Joyces establish residence in London and legally married at Kensington Registry Office, 4 July (for ‘testimentary reasons’); O’Sullivan campaign peters out; Faber issues Haveth Childers Everywhere; Lucia shows early signs of mental illness; Joyces visit Wales; death of JSJ, 29 Dec.;


Lucia becomes engaged to Alex Ponisovsky, falls into catatonic state, and is diagnosed ‘hebephrenic’; Faber issues Tales Told of Shem and Shaun (Dec.); JAJ refuses Yeats’s invitation to join Irish Academy of Letters, Oct.; JAJ buys Lucia fur-coat for 4,000 frs as therapy; Stephen Joyce, son of Giorgio and Helen, b. 15 Feb.;


Joyces travel to Zurich via Monte Carlo and Neuchâtel in auto of René Bailly (m. to Galway friend of Nora), April 1934; Lucia examined by pschiatrist at Zurich Mental Asylum and placed in Nyon nursing home, July; Max L. Ernst challenges American ban on Ulysses in US District Court, Dec.; Judge John M. Woolsey finds for Ernst (‘somewhat emetic [but] nowhere ... aphrodisiac’), 6 Dec; JAJ employs Mme. France Raphael to recover unused material from Ulysses notebooks, 1933-34;


America edition of Ulysses published (Feb.), selling 33,000 copies in 2 months; Lucia physically attacks her mother and is returned to nursing home; Servire Press issues The Mime of Mick Nick and the Maggies (The Hague, June 1934) with art-work by Lucia; Lucia sets room on fire, 15 Sept.; sent to Zurich Asylum, and then to nursing-home where Carl Kung holds position; George travels to America to pursue singing career;


Lucia is placed in care of Miss Weaver in London, then taken Bray in Ireland with Eileen; runs away from Eileen; placed in Co. Dublin nursing-home; cared for by Miss Weaver and a nurse in London, and then in Paris by Maria Jolas; regarded as ‘dangerous’ and placed in Asylum; moved to maison de santé, remaining in care for the rest of her life; Sylvia Beach about to sell MS of Stephen Hero, 1935;


A Chaucer ABC with drawings by Lucia published, July; Joyces visit Villers-sur-mer (Calvados), Copenhagen, Bonn and Zurich; JAJ writes letter-story to Stephen which woul become The Cat and the Devil (10 Aug. 1936; NY 1964); Ulysses published by John Lane in London (Bodley Head Edn. Oct. 1936); Stanislaus officially expelled from Trieste; JAJ and Stanislaus meet in Zurich;


JAJ works Italian trans. of Anna Livia Plurabelle with on Nino Frank; JAJ invited to PEN Club dinner as guest of honour and addresses meeting on author’s rights, June; makes weekly visits to Lucia; George and Helen Fleischmann travel to America, Dec.-April;


JAJ composed last sections of Finnegans Wake with great difficulty due to eye-sight; involved with arrangements to evacuation Lucia in case of war (deferred by Munich Agreement, 30 Sept.);


JAJ sents wreathe to funeral of Yeats; Finnegans Wake published (4 May 1939); JAJ travels to Zurich for eye-treatment, and then to Pornichet, nr. Baule (Normandy) where Lucia is being evacuated, Sept.; Helen Joyce has nervous breakdown presaging collapse of her marriage to Giorgio; Stephen Joyce sent to Maria Jolas’ school at St Gérand-le-Puy nr. Vichy, and joined by the Joyces at Christmas, 24 Dec.;


Joyces, Léons, Beckett and others gather at St Gérand-le-Puy as Paris falls to the Germans (May 1940); Joyces take rooms in hotels at St. Gérand and Vichy (mid-April to mid-June); gained visas to Switzerland with great difficulty and much international support; first application rejected, 30 Sept; visa granted, 29 Nov.; Joyce, Nora, George & Stephen depart night of 14-15 Dec. reaching Zurich by train, 17 Dec. 1940;


JAJ suffers extreme attack of abdominal pain and removed to Red Cross Hospital, 10 Jan.; operated on for duodenal ulcer, 12 Jan.; wakes but loses strength, asking for wife and son before slipping into coma; and dies 2.15 a.m. 13 Jan.; buried at Fluntern Cemetery, Zurich, 15 Jan.;

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Joyce’s Annual Exam Results at Belevedere College

  1894 1895 1897 1898
Latin 58% 53% 54% 47%
English 38% 45% 38% 54%
French 57% 59% 75% 49%

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Joyce’s Years at UCD - Courses and Results

Years 3 terms p.a. Subjects Marks/Max
  Matriculates at UCD, 8 Sept. 1898; enters UCD, Oct. 1898.
1st Year Oct.1898-June 1899 Latin
Natural Philosophy


2nd Year Oct. 1899-June 1900 Latin
Natural Philosophy
Italian (optional)
3rd Year Oct. 1900-June 1901 Latin
4th Year Oct. 1901-June 1902 French
Final exams 6 Oct.; grad. 30 Oct. 1902; grad. photo taken on 31 Oct. 1902
Joyce added Italian language and literature in place of French as an optional subject - partly to study Dante and partly to avoid the “crush” of French and German, according to the account given in Stephen Hero.
Royal University of Ireland/National University of Ireland

The Catholic University of Ireland, 1854-58, was founded by the Roman Catholic hierarchy with John Henry Newman as its Rector. It was re-esetablished as the Royal University of Ireland in 1879, consisting essentially in an examining body charged with publishing the syllabi and setting the examination papers for which candidates were prepared in the Queen‘s Colleges in Dublin, Cork and Galway, and at Magee College in Derry. The Dublin college, styled University College, Dublin, was established on St. Stephen’s Green at that date in buildings formerly occupied by the Catholic University (and originally the town house of Thomas “Buck” Whaley) with members of the Society of Jesus as lecturers, many Irish and connected with Belvedere and Clongowes but some of from the English province of the Order. In 1908 the National University of Ireland and the Queen’s University of Belfast were established as new and separate universities - the National University as a federal university consisting of the university colleges in Cork [UCC], Dublin [UCD], and Galway [UCG] while Queen’s embarked a a separate history in keeping with its nominally secular (if predominantly Protestant) character. St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth became a recognized university institution within NUI in the 1980s.

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