JAMES JOYCE (1882-1941)
- At the beginning of the First World War I (1914), Great Britain was the greatest colonial power in the world;
- During the First World War (1914-1918) 1 million Britons died and 2 million were wounded;
- After the First World War, the colonies increased their demands for independence. The British Commonwealth of Nations was set up in 1926.
- The first half of the 20th century marked the end of the British Empire and the Industrial Revolution;
- Ireland was fighting for political independence from Great Britain.
ECONOMY AND SOCIETY:
Britain’s economic and military position was weakened by the wars;
After World War I, debt and unemployment led to:
- The General Strike (1926)
- The World Economic Depression (1930)
Women started to take on new roles:
- The Suffragette movement led to women being granted the right to vote;
- Women enjoyed more freedom, unlike in the Victorian era, when they were generally housebound.
The start of the 20th century marked a dramatic rise in the number of writers and readers;
Ireland was affected by religious conflicts between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants and by nationalistic manifestations that affected the individual’s relationship with authorities and institutions.
IDEOLOGY AND CULTURE:
Modernism is a collective term for several literary orientations, such as Decadence, Expressionism, Imagism, Symbolism, and Post-Impressionism;
Modernism is a reaction against realism and naturalism, which aimed at representing reality as we see it;
Modernism is influenced by:
- Einstein’s theory of relativity;
- Freud’s psychological studies;
- Marx’s political theories.
The Modernist novel:
- Non-chronological, it experiments with the representation of time (temporal juxtapositions, sudden jumps);
- The modernist narration moves from one level of narration to another without warning; thus, it breaks narrative frames.
- The modernist narration focuses on the inner world. The plot of events becomes less important than the character’s consciousness, unconsciousness, memory, and perception.
- Experiments with form and style.
THE AUTHOR AND HIS WORK
Born in Dublin in a middle-class family;
Educated as a Catholic, but during his teenage years he rejected Catholicism;
Lived in self-imposed exile in Trieste, Paris, and Zürich;
Worked as an English teacher and bank clerk;
Wrote poetry, stories, and theories of aesthetics;
Corresponded with Modernist writers (Samuel Beckett and Ezra Pound);
His work is tied with Irish political and cultural history.
- “The Dubliners”
- “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”
- “Finnegans Wake”