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James Joyce: A Biography

Gordon Bowker

3 Reviews

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Biography: literary, Prose: non-fiction

Long-awaited and comprehensive biography of the great Irish author James Joyce, who died 70 years ago.

James Joyce was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, but he was not immediately recognised as such; rather he lived in exile in the cosmopolitan Europe of the 1920s in a bid to escape the suffocating atmosphere and parochial prejudices of his native Dublin. His unstinting dedication to authorship picks him out as a writer in the romantic tradition.

He battled poverty and financial dependency for much of his adult life, as well as near-blindness from 1917 and the grief of his daughter Lucia's mental illness. He suffered too the slings and arrows of uncomprehending critics especially for his influential Ulysses, which was banned in both Britain and America.

Drawing on considerable new material that has only recently become available, Gordon Bowker's biography attempts to get beyond the exterior life to explore the inner landscape of an extraordinary writer who continues to influence and fascinate, well over a century after his birth.

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Praise for James Joyce: A Biography

  • This biography is both learned and readable; it is an attractive monument to a brilliant, kind-hearted, often unfortunate man. - Edmund Gordon, Sunday Times

  • A scrupulously researched, entertainingly readable biography of a maddeningly protean, contradictory genius. - John Walsh, Independent

  • Bowker's biography - packed as it is with incidents, ideas and sympathy - proves inspiring. - Richard Davenport-Hines, Sunday Telegraph

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Gordon Bowker

Gordon Bowker has written highly acclaimed biographies of Malcolm Lowry (a New York Times Recommended Book of the Year) and Lawrence Durrell, and articles and reviews for the Observer, the Sunday Times, the New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement.

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