James Joyce

Biographical Information

James Joyce


February 2, 1882, Dublin, Ireland


January 13, 1941, Zurich, Switzerland

Country of Origin/Citizenship

Ireland/ Irish

Kind of Artist/Cultural Worker


Avant-Garde Movements Associated With


Date & Places of Overlap with Loy

Paris, 1921-22

Regarded as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1882. Joyce grew up in a strict Catholic, economically-challenged family (Associated P.), due to his father’s gambling addiction. In Fall 1888, Joyce began his schooling at the Catholic affiliated Clongowes Wood College; his early acceptance to the school demonstrated his intelligence. In 1899, Joyce began attending classes at University College Dublin, where he studied until 1902 and initiated his writing career. Joyce left Dublin in 1905 for Trieste in order to further advance his writing career and to attend the Berlitz School (Bowker 134).

Joyce’s novel Ulysses, which expresses “the Ireland he had left” (Gibson 115-6), became his most famous work. Ulysses was censored by the U.S. Post Office when an excerpt was published in the Little Review (Bowker 244). One U.S. Post Office official stated, “The creature who writes this Ulysses stuff should be put under a glass jar for examination” (Bowker 261). In 1920 the Little Review’s editors Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap were put on trial in New York for publishing Ulysses. The avant-garde responded to the censorship trial by dedicating an entire issue of the Little Review to freedom of expression, which included works by the Baroness, Ezra Pound, Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy, among others (Burke 287). Even though the U.S. ban on Ulysses was eventually lifted in 1933 by Judge John Woolsey (Associated P.), Joyce had acquired a place among modernist artists and authors.

After being published in the Little Review, Mina Loy’s and Joyce’s lack of a personal relationship did not diminish the artistic appreciation they had for one another (Parmar). For example, the aforementioned censorship of Ulysses inspired Mina Loy to write two poems: “Apology of Genius” and “Joyce’s Ulysses.” In “Apology of Genius,” Loy explored artists’ “curious disciplines” (Loy 77), emphasizing that they would stand up “to the censor’s scythe” (Loy 78). Moreover, in Paris in 1921, Loy and Djuna Barnes interviewed Joyce for Vanity Fair, an interview occasioned by the censorship trial and Joyce’s literary celebrity (Burke 310). Barnes mainly conducted the interview, and when she asked about the censorship of Ulysses, Joyce responded, “ ‘The pity is . . . the public will demand and find a moral in my book – or worse they may take it in some more serious way . . . there is not one single serious line in it’” (qtd. in Barnes). During the interview, Loy expressed her appreciation for Joyce by drawing a sketch of his profile “with his head resting on his hand” (Burke 310). After that moment, Loy referred to Joyce as the “most gentle of geniuses” for whom she carried a great admiration (310).

On January 10, 1941, Joyce’s health declined, with abdominal pain caused by two bleeding ulcers, and Joyce passed away on January 13, 1941 (Bowker 531).




Works Cited

Barnes, Djuna. “A Portrait of the Man Who Is, At Present, One of the More Significant Figures in Literature.” Vanity Fair, April 1922, www.vanityfair.com/news/1922/03/james-joyce-djuna-barnes-ulysses. Accessed 17 September 2017.

Bowker, Gordon. James Joyce. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2011.

Burke, Carolyn. Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy. University of California Press. 1996.

By the, Associated P. “James Joyce Dies; Wrote ‘Ulysses’.” The Washington Post (1923-1954), Jan 13, 1941, pp. 1, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post, https://proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu:80/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/151469245?accountid=14537.

Gibson, Andrew. James Joyce. Reaktion Books Ltd. 2006.

“Joyce in Paris- the Addresses.” Ricorso.net, www.ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/j/Joyce_JA/apx/sundry/Paris_flats.htm

Loy, Mina. “Apology of Genius.” The Lost Lunar Baedeker, edited by Roger L. Conover, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996, pp. 77-78.

Parmar, Sandeep. “Not an Apology: Mina Loy’s Geniuses.” The Wolf, July 2008, www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=21853. Accessed 7 September 2017.

Praz, Mario, and Wallace Sillanpoa. “Notes on James Joyce.” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, vol. 6, no. 1, 1972, pp. 85–100. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24777094.

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