James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 - 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homers Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His complete oeuvre includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters.
Joyce was born into a middle-class family in Dublin, where he excelled as a student at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, then at University College Dublin. In his early twenties he emigrated permanently to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris, and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyces fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born on 2 February 1882 to John Stanislaus Joyce and Mary Jane May Murray in the Dublin suburb of Rathgar. He was baptized according to the Rites of the Catholic Church in the nearby St Josephs Church in Terenure on 5 February by Rev. John OMulloy. His godparents were Philip and Ellen McCann. He was the eldest of ten surviving children; two of his siblings died of typhoid. His fathers family, originally from Fermoy in Cork, had once owned a small salt and lime works. Joyces father and paternal grandfather both married into wealthy families, though the familys purported ancestor, Seán Mór Seoighe (fl. 1680) was a stonemason from Connemara. In 1887, his father was appointed rate collector (i.e., a collector of local property taxes) by Dublin Corporation; the family subsequently moved to the fashionable adjacent small town of Bray 12 miles (19 km) from Dublin. Around this time Joyce was attacked by a dog, which engendered in him a lifelong cynophobia. He also suffered from astraphobia, as a superstitious aunt had described thunderstorms to him as a sign of Gods wrath.
In 1891 Joyce wrote a poem on the death of Charles Stewart Parnell. His father was angry at the treatment of Parnell by the Catholic church and at the resulting failure to secure Home Rule for Ireland. The elder Joyce had the poem printed and even sent a part to the Vatican Library. In November of that same year, John Joyce was entered in Stubbs Gazette (a publisher of bankruptcies) and suspended from work. In 1893, John Joyce was dismissed with a pension, beginning the familys slide into poverty caused mainly by Johns drinking and general financial mismanagement.