|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (January 2016)|
Born in County Dublin, Stanislaus was considered a "whetstone" by his more famous brother, who shared his ideas and his books with him, he was three years younger than James, and a constant boyhood companion. Stanislaus rebelled against his native Ireland as his brother had done, and in 1905, he joined James's household in Trieste on Via Caterina, 1.
He worked as an English-language teacher in the Berlitz School alongside his brother. In 1903, he had already begun to keep a diary that recorded his own thoughts on philosophical and literary matter as well as those of his brother; he later resumed this diary in Trieste. This Book of Days, as he called it, sheds light on James Joyce's life between the years 1906 and 1909. The diary indicates that Stanislaus, truly "his brother's keeper", was called upon to rescue his brother from financial difficulties time and time again. After 1908, he maintained his own address, although he may have lived with his brother again for a time in 1909.
Arrested as a subversive on December 28, 1914, at the beginning of World War I, he was interned by the Austrians at Katzenau, near Linz. After his release, he moved in with his sister Eileen's family. Stanislaus took his brother's teaching position at Trieste's Scuola Superiore di Commercio "Revoltella" in 1920; this school later became assimilated into the University of Trieste and he continued on as a non-tenured professor of English until his death. Due to his anti-Fascist views, Stanislaus moved to Florence sometime in 1941, where he may have been protected from the Germans by various wealthy Italian and American families.
He later published Recollections of James Joyce (1950); published after his death on June 16 ("Bloomsday") were My Brother's Keeper (1957) and Dublin Diary (1962). In the 1950s, Stanislaus had also assisted Richard Ellmann, his brother's biographer, with Ellmann's monumental James Joyce (1959).
Stanislaus often fought with his brother, as well as with his brother's wife Nora Barnacle, but they shared a common literary philosophy despite the fact that Stanislaus had received less advanced schooling than his brother. Stanislaus, however, channelled these instincts into sober academic study rather than wild flights of literary fancy. Of his brother, Stanislaus wrote,
It seems to me little short of a miracle that anyone should have striven to cultivate poetry or cared to get in touch with the current of European thought while living in a household such as ours, typical as it was of the squalor of a drunken generation. Some inner purpose transfigured him.
On August 13, 1928, Stanislaus married Nelly Lichtensteiger. They had one son —James— who was born in February 1943.