From Dublin to Ithaca: Cornell’s James Joyce Collection Event Online Exhibit uri icon

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  • James Joyce (1882–1941) broke with his native Ireland and with late Victorian conventions to shape a new life for himself and a new literature for his time. His early life was unsettled. Moving to the European continent in 1904, he wavered among careers, considering medicine, law, banking, classical singing, wool merchandising, and managing a theater troupe, in between stints of writing and language tutoring, as he worked on his early short stories, poems, and finally novels. Until he came to the attention of vigorous advocates and patrons such as Ezra Pound and Harriet Weaver, his finances were in chaos, and the combination of financial pressures and World War I drove him to move around from Pola to Trieste to Zurich, bringing his young family with him. From 1917 onward, he was also increasingly troubled with major eye problems, and his eyesight deteriorated even as the breadth of his literary vision expanded.