The Dead The Plot

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James Joyce was born in Dublin on 2nd February 1882. He was the oldest of ten children in a family which, after brief prosperity, collapsed into poverty. He was none the less educated at the best Jesuit schools and then at University College, Dublin, where he gave proof of his extraordinary talent. In 1902, following his graduation, he went to Paris, thinking he might attend medical school there. But he soon gave up attending lectures and devoted himself to writing poems and prose sketches, and formulating an aesthetic system. Recalled to Dublin in April 1903 because of the fatal illness of his mother, he circled slowly towards his literary career. During the summer of 1904 he met a young woman from Galway, Nora Barnacle, and persuaded her to go with him to the Continent, where he planned to teach English. The young couple spent a few months in Pola, then in 1905 moved to Trieste, where, except for seven months in Rome and three trips to Dublin, they lived until June 1915. They had two children, a son and a daughter. His first book, the poems of Chamber Music, was published in London in 1907, and Dubliners, a book of stories, in 1914. Italy s entrance into the First World War obliged Joyce to move to Zurich, where he remained until 1919. During this period he published A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Exiles, a play (1918). After a brief return to Trieste following the armistice, Joyce determined to move to Paris so as to arrange more easily for the publication of Ulysses, a book which he had been working on since 1914. It was, in fact, published on his birthday in Paris, in 1922, and brought him international fame. The same year he began work on Finnegans Wake, and though much harassed by eye troubles, and deeply affected by his daughter s mental illness, he completed and published that book in 1939. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he went to live in Unoccupied France, then managed to secure permission in December 1940 to return to Zurich. Joyce died there six weeks later, on 13th January 1941, and was buried in the Fluntern Cemetery.

Every year the Misses Morkan (Miss Kate, Miss Julia - and Mary Jane) celebrate the New Year s Eve with their annual dance. Everybody who knows them comes to it, members of the family, old friends of the family, the members of Julia s choir, any of Kate s pupils that are grown up enough and even some of Mary Jane s pupils too.

Never once has it fallen flat. For years and years it has gone off in splendid style as long as anyone can remember. As every year also Gabriel Conroy (nephew to Miss Kate and Miss Julia) comes with his wife Gretta.

There s a lot to talk about this evening, and most guests also don t miss the opportunity to dance or just listen to the music. Mary Jane plays even her Academy piece on the piano, full of runs and difficult passages - but although Gabriel likes music, the piece she is playing has no melody for him and he doubts whether it has any melody for ...

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