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James Joyce - Biography

James Joyce (1882-1941)
Commentary by Karen Bernardo

The literary reputation of the Irish writer James Joyce rests largely on books few people except literature scholars have actually read. Novels like Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake have convinced the reading public that Joyce's works are difficult, if not completely unintelligible. But his short stories -- the best of which are contained in his volume Dubliners -- are surprisingly accessible, and deserve a more popular readership. 

Joyce left Ireland for Europe at the age of twenty-two, feeling it too culturally and spiritually restrictive, but Ireland never left him; he continued to write about it all his life. Never sentimental, his works compellingly convey the social, religious, and political climate of Ireland in the early twentieth century, and he combines an astute commentary on his native land with the evocative cry of a free spirit.

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Dubliners (Twentieth-Century Classics)

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