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James Joyce Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ulysses (1922)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Finnegans Wake (1939)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stephen Hero (1944)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Boarding House (1914)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Two Gallants (1914)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Araby (1914)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Exiles: A Play in Three Acts (1918)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Cats of Copenhagen (1936)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Cat and the Devil (1965)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Chamber Music (1907)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dubliners (1914)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pomes Penyeach (1927)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Collected Poems (1936)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Giacomo Joyce (1968)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Finn's Hotel (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Critical Writings (1959)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
James Joyce Letters Volumes 1 - 2 & 3 (1966)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Selected Letters of James Joyce (1975)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
James Joyce's Letters To Sylvia Beach, 1921 1940 (1987)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

50 Great Short Stories(1952)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction(1999)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ultimate Short Story Bundle(2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

About James Joyce

When it comes to James Joyce, he’s a writer who for many needs little to no introduction, having been a highly acclaimed author during his lifetime. An Irish novelist known for transforming the English language and the fundamental understanding of words themselves, he was a writer ahead of his time. Experimenting with form, he would take the contemporary novel of the time and turn its head, not only playing with language but turning narrative on its head too. This unique approach has led to a whole host of literary innovations, as he would come to shape the face of literature throughout the twentieth century.

Joyce’s legacy for the literary world is undeniable, with many aspiring authors citing him as a critical influence. Setting the standard for years to come, hot debate surrounds his work to this day, with scholars and academics still finding layers of meaning within his texts. While his later work tends to get more complex, it remains hugely rewarding for anyone willing to dig a little deeper. Speaking on a range of different issues, he was a singular voice, and his outspoken nature would often get him into trouble.

Exuding a strong philosophy through his work, many praise Joyce as an astute observer of human nature. Featuring iconic characters, from Stephen Dedalus to Leopold Bloom, the people that populated his novels have stood the test of time since. Stephen Dedalus was an alter-ego for Joyce, allowing him to observe and chart his progress. Still recognized to this day, Joyce’s legacy resonates with readers from around the world.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 1882 on the 2nd of February, in Dublin, Ireland, at 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, Joyce grew up as the eldest of ten surviving siblings. His parents were Mary Jane ‘May’ and John Stanislaus Joyce, who brought him up Catholic while retaining Irish nationalist sentiments. Attending Clongowes Wood College in 1888, he went to the Christian Brothers O’Connell School after leaving in 1892.

Later, he would study at University College in 1898, during which time the Thomas Aquinas school of scholasticism would become a core interest. Following this, he would become a vital member of the many literary and theatrical circles within and around Dublin. Living in Dublin, he would later live in Zürich, continuing to write until his passing in 1941 on the 11th of January.

Writing Career

Starting his literary career in 1904, Joyce attempted to publish ‘A Portrait of an Artist,’ which got rejected initially. He would then take the opportunity to create ‘Stephen Hero,’ which would later be published post-humously in 1944 but would form the basis of ‘Portrait of an Artist.’ Writing a series of poems before releasing a collection of short stories in the ‘Irish Homestead,’ with these seeing the formation of his much-loved collection ‘The Dubliners,’ released in 1914.

It would be in 1916 that ‘A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man’ would come out, followed by ‘Exiles’ in 1918, looking at Joyce’s relationship with Ireland. Next, he would publish ‘Ulysses,’ which many would regard as one of his most important works, and later going on to write ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ in 1939 before his passing. He was also well known for writing letters and critical essays, many of which would also see publication, as his legacy lives on.

Ulysses

Beginning as a serialized piece in ‘The Little Review’ during March 1918, authorities suppressed two installments in January and May 1919. This controversy would lead to it being officially banned in the UK until 1936 for supposed obscenity and subversion, leading to it surreptitiously passed around after being published by Sylvia Beach. Gaining notoriety, it would, in time, achieve the status of a literary masterpiece, as it would finally reach the reading public at large.

Following the lives of ordinary Dubliners in 1904, Joyce based this tome loosely upon ‘The Odyssey.’ Charting a single day within the life of one Leopold Bloom, it follows him along with Stephen Dedalus and his wife Molly, as well as Buck Mulligan. There’s a whole cast of characters, too, as its sweeping lyrical narrative incorporates a lifetime into just one Irish day. As countless allusions and historical reference points weave through the experimental structure, each character represents everything.

While the book is highly complex, with many of the best academics still arguing over it to this day, the reading of the work remains hugely rewarding. Many adjectives describe the novel, including exciting, confounding, informative, and, ultimately, stimulating. This last aspect is likely to be the most important as, regardless of how someone interacts with the book, it’s what they get at the end of it all.

Finnegan’s Wake

This book would be Joyce’s final novel, published on the 4th of May 1939, just over a year before passing away. Suffering from illness while finishing it, the book stands testament to his status as one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century. There’s a wealth of meaning within its pages, as it provides a ‘stream-of-consciousness’ written in Paris over seventeen years.

Ulysses doesn’t have a ‘beginning’ or an ‘end’ in the traditional sense, lending its narrative a circular structure. Summarizing the plot itself is one for the ages, as the themes of fall and resurrection swim through a dream-like narrative. The nocturnal flow of consciousness represents Finn’s final thoughts as he lies beside the river Laffey, watching Ireland’s past, present, and future collide. While this was one interpretation Joyce himself gave as he was conceiving it, the book has taken on many different meanings, as it encompasses so much.

Again, this is down to the reader and their interpretation, as academics and critics continually debate it. With the names of characters and locations constantly shifting, it’s not a simple book to follow, but therein lies a large part of its appeal. The challenging nature of the book and how it confronts the very heart of language itself is what will ensure this novel’s legacy remains steadfast for years to come.

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