James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882. Educated at Jesuit schools he studied modern languages at University College. While still at university Joyce had an article on Ibsen published in the Fortnightly Review. He also become friendly with other literary figures in the city including J. M. Synge and W. B. Yeats.
After graduating in 1902 Joyce moved to France. He returned to Ireland after the death of his mother. In 1904 Joyce met Nora Barnacle and the couple went to live in Switzerland. The following year they moved to Trieste where Joyce found work at the Berlitz School.
During the First World War Joyce moved to Zurich where he began work on his next novel, Ulysses. It was published in serial form in the New York journal, The Little Review (April 1918 to December 1920). As a result of the serialization the journal was prosecuted for publishing obscene matter. It was eventually published in France in 1922 but was impounded by customs officials when attempts were made to import the book into England. When the books arrived in the United States they were seized and burnt by the postal authorities.
Poems Penyeach, a small collection of poems, appeared in 1927. Despite Ulysses being praised by writers such as W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and Arnold Bennett it was not published in Britain until 1936. This was followed by Finnegans Wake in 1939. James Joyce died after an operation on a duodenal ulcer on 13th January 1941.