James Joyce (biography)

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James Joyce
AuthorRichard Ellmann
CountryUnited States
SubjectJames Joyce
Publication date

James Joyce by Richard Ellmann was published in 1959 (a revised edition was released in 1982). It provides an intimate and detailed account of the life of Irish modernist James Joyce, which informs an understanding of this author's complex works.


Anthony Burgess was so impressed with the biographer's work that he claimed it to be "the greatest literary biography of the century."[1][2] Edna O'Brien, the Irish novelist, remarked that "H. G. Wells said that Finnegans Wake was an immense riddle, and people find it too difficult to read. I have yet to meet anyone who has read and digested the whole of it—except perhaps my friend Richard Ellmann."[3] Ellmann quotes extensively from Finnegans Wake as epigraphs in his biography of Joyce.


  1. ^ Lorraine, Janzen Kooistra (Winter 1993). "The Biography of the Century: Another Look at Richard Ellmann's James Joyce". Biography. 16 (1): 31–45. doi:10.1353/bio.2010.0340. JSTOR 23539556. S2CID 162295867.
  2. ^ Menand, Louis, "Silence, Exile, Punning: James Joyce's chance encounters". The New Yorker, 2 July 2012, pp. 71–75.
  3. ^ Interview, The Art of Fiction No. 82, The Paris Review, Issue 92, Summer 1984.