J is for Joyce


James Augusta Aloysius Joyce was born in 1882 in a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. Considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century he wrote his first poem at the age of 9.

He attended University College Dublin and after graduating went to Paris to study Medicine, but returned to Ireland when he heard his mother was dying, where he made a meager living by doing book reviews after her death.

In 1904 he tried to publish an essay entitled “A Portrait of The Artist” unsuccessfully, and years later, completely reworked as a novel this became “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”

After various stints in Europe (mainly Zurich and Paris) where he met Harriet Shaw Weaver (who became his mentor and gave him thousands of pounds to allow him to write and not have to work) he wrote his famous short story collections and novels such as “Ulysses” and “Finnegan’s Wake.”

Joyce perfected the stream of consciousness technique of writing and his fiction is centered on Dublin, his characters resembling friends and relations he had there.

An alcoholic, he died at the age of 59 due to a perforated ulcer.

My favourite Joyce quotes:

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”

“No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet, no inclination.”

“When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart.”

”I shall write a book some day about the appropriateness of names. Geoffrey Chaucer has a ribald ring, as is proper and correct, and Alexander Pope was inevitably Alexander Pope. Colley Cibber was a silly little man without much elegance and Shelley was very Percy and very Bysshe.”

Clip of Joyce:

Ok, so he pioneered “stream of consciousness” aka “interior monologue” in his novels, which means I have a lot to thank him for. I love using interior monologue (although i call it internal monologue) perhaps too much lol. Do you use interior monologue in your writing?

46 thoughts on “J is for Joyce

  1. You’re doing a great job on the A-Z challenge, Vikki! I always try to guess which writer you’re going to pick for the next day’s letter. (K= Kafka?) I can’t wait to see!
    And I use lots of interior monologue too. 🙂


    • Thanks Kirsten 🙂

      Its hard deciding, thats for sure! I did initially think of Kafka, but then i thought, no, it has to be that prolific writer who , love him or hate him, ALWAYS has brilliant advice for the aspiring novelist 😉 You’ll have to wait til tomorrow he he he 😉

      Im so glad im not alone in that!



  2. I love your diverse letters by the way. Ah Joyce. I’ve never read him. Never been much of a classicist. “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
    I don’t think you can write anything without using internal monologue.


    • Thanks Sue 🙂

      I wanted to be different lol

      Im trying not to make every single post about a writer who’s a literary genius, but its been hard work deciding on each letter i can tell you! lol

      I TOTALLY agree…i LOVE IT! 🙂



  3. I read Ulysses last year – wow – I got to the point where I thought “I’m going to finish this even if it kills me!” LOL Having said that, It does have magnificent moments 😉


  4. I did ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ at A Level and loved it. Our teacher read the dialogue it in a soft Irish accent, although he wasn’t Irish – it was quite magical! I use internal monologue all the time – I wasn’t sure whether it was a bad habit but it’s my style and I guess I’ll be sticking to what comes naturally!


    • Oh wow Bel, that must have been amazing!!!! 🙂

      I was a little worried that i may be overusing it, but i really like it and enjoy using it. Like you I’m sticking with it 🙂

      Thanks honey xx


  5. Hi Vikki, These are excellent author briefs and I love your favorite quote section. I am going to pin your blog for future reference. Thanks for the fine job you are doing with A to Z. Go bless, Maria


    • Ha ha ha thanks VR 🙂

      It’s been really hard condensing down their Bios, especially for people like Hemingway, but I only wanted to look at them from a writing perspective. I hope I’ve been successful 😉

      Oh yes, I love quotes! Especially those I can learn from 🙂

      Thanks honey xx


  6. I don’t really use “interior monologue” a whole lot in my writing…well, actually that’s sort of a lie. I do tend to use it in first drafts just because I’m trying to get all of my thoughts down, but I always cut it out in later drafts because it doesn’t really fit my character’s voice and isn’t really the style I’m going for.

    The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man wasn’t my favorite book I’ve read for an English class (actually this is sort of an understatement), but I’m determined to give Joyce another chance!


  7. Why did so many of these authors who perfected contemporary writing become alcoholics? You say: What kind of question is that? Hemingway, Joyce and Fitzgerald all had the thing for the bottle(s) to go with their pen. ~ Rebecca


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