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James Joyce (1882 - 1941)

Related: modernist literature - Ulysses (1922)

A text is deemed Joycean when it is reminiscent of the writings of James Joyce, particularly Ulysses and whatever portion of Finnegans Wake the person using the word has actually read. The characteristics usually alluded to in employing this term are a vast range of style and technique (particularly symbolism and stream-of-consciousness), and an inclination towards somewhat sordid subject-matter. More than anything, however, Joycean has come to denote a form of extreme verbal inventiveness which tends to push the English language towards, and in the case of Finnegans Wake beyond, the limits of readability. [Jul 2006]

James Joyce marks the dividing line (in English) between 19th-century fiction intended for a general audience and a modern desire to write for readers who are well educated in the literary history. The death of James Joyce also marks the dividing line between modernist and postmodernist literature. [Jul 2006]

Contemporaries: Virginia Woolf - Bela Lugosi - Igor Stravinsky


James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (February 2, 1882 – January 13, 1941) was an expatriate Irish writer and poet, and is widely considered one of the most significant writers of the 20th century. He is best known for his short story collection Dubliners (1914), and for his novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939).

Together with Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson, he is credited with the development of the stream of consciousness technique in which the same weight is given to both the internal world of the mind and the external world of events and circumstances as factors shaping the actions and views of fictional characters.

Although most of his adult life was spent outside the country, Joyce's Irish experiences are essential to his writings and provide all of the settings for his fiction and much of their subject matter. His fictional universe is firmly rooted in Dublin and reflects his family life and the events and friends (and enemies) from his school and college days. In this, he became both one of the most cosmopolitan and one of the most local of all the great English language modernists. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Joyce [Jan 2005]

James Joyce and masturbation

"Shame rose from his smitten heart and flooded his whole being. The image of Emma appeared before him, and under her eyes the flood of shame rushed forth anew from his heart. If she knew to what his mind had subjected her or how his brute-like lust had torn and trampled upon her innocence! Was that boyish love? Was that chivalry? Was that poetry? The sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrils." --A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man


This is one of a whole series of adjectives based on authors' names, such as Brechtian, Kafkaesque, Orwellian and Pinteresque. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joycean [May 2006]

James Joyce and cinema

People have written a lot about cinematic elements in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, very deliberate on JJ's part because he was interested in new modes of storytelling and culture (TV even shows up in Finnegans Wake in passages written in the 20s and early 30s). Joyce in fact was involved in opening the Volta, the first cinema in Ireland, after he'd seen films in Trieste (where he lived most of the time, 1905-20). But he returned to Trieste and left the Volta in charge of others who didn't run the business end well (and JJ wasn't that practical financially himself), and it soon went broke.... --Greg Downing/NYU, http://www.liquidsquid.com/modernism/mod/0397/0078.html [Dec 2004]

Pre-Joycean Fellowship

Several writers known for fantasy and science fiction have semi-seriously called themselves the Pre-Joycean Fellowship to indicate that they value 19th-century values of storytelling, including clarity, called by Jane Yolen the "lovely limpid quality" of writing. Steven Brust has said that "it is in large part a joke, and in another large part a way to start literary arguments."

The term was probably coined by Will Shetterly in imitation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, positing James Joyce as the dividing line (in English) between 19th-century fiction intended for a general audience and a modern desire to write for readers who are well educated in the literary history. Mark Alan Arnold commented, "The Pre-Joycean Fellowship exists to poke fun at the excesses of contemporary literature while simultaneously mining it for everything of value."

The name was meant as a joke; a "gathering of the PJF" was an excuse for writers with shared interests to meet at a bar. Steven Brust took the joke public when he began signing PJF after his name on his title pages. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Joycean_Fellowship [Jul 2006]

James Joyce meets Sergei Eisenstein

A remarkable meeting took place one November day in 1929 in Paris between two famous innovators, one in literature, the other in film: James Joyce (1882-1941) and Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948).... The historical meeting ... took place on November 30, 1929, at 2 Square Robiac, 192 rue de Grenelle, Paris 7e, where Joyce had a flat.... As far as is known, Joyce never mentioned this meeting in writing.(Gösta Werner, 1990)

Like other literary scholars have done in the past couple of decades, I looked first of all to the writings of novelist James Joyce and to the writings of filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein when I sought to find a ground or establish a basis for my interest in exploring the possible shared relationships -- the influences, the historical connections, the theoretical or ideological associations, the definitions and other constructed meanings -- between literary modernism and the new medium of cinema.(2) Of course, Eisenstein's interest in literature in general and in Joyce in particular is everywhere evident in his writings, and so I simply took note of his own suggestions for some kind of unified consideration of modernism and film. At first, too, as I approached the modernism-and-the-movies question, I was pleased to enter what seemed like a rich ground identified by various scholars who found in Joyce's parodies and puns, especially in Ulysses, an allusive play either on details of the movie world or on elements of film technique, or who found in Joyce's structures and rhythms some acknowledgement of film form in general or some anticipation of 1920s movies by directors like Eisenstein or Ruttmann in particular.(3) [...]

It is fairly common to regard the experiments of English literary modernism in the 1920s -- the modernism of Joyce and Pound and Eliot, for example -- as somehow bound up with, perhaps even indebted to, the new art of the cinema. Since the 1920s, English literary history has tended to tie literary developments of that period especially to the modernist and avant-garde experiments of the post-war, international silent cinema, from early German Expressionism in 1919 and American comedy to Russian formalism and French avant-garde in 1929, by which time the silent era had all but ended. Literary scholars' well-known enthusiasm especially for technical analogies -- stream-of-consciousness, interior monologue, and their variants in literature; montage and other editing devices, as well as interior monologue, in film -- has given them a framework for describing the artistic trends of that decade. --Paul Tiessen, Eisenstein, Joyce, and the Gender Politics of English Literary Modernism, http://www.kinema.uwaterloo.ca/tiess931.htm [Dec 2004]

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