Enduring Ex Patriot May 12, 2007
A comprehensive and sensitively written biography of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Ellmann begins with the geneology of the Joyce's, and the Murrays .From an affluent land owning heritage in Cork, Ireland, James Joyce's family is reduced to near poverty , mostly due to the drinking habits of his father, John., and a large family of ten children.,( of which James is the favorite and the eldest. ) Through a scholarship he is able to attend an excellent Jesuit academy, in Conglowes., w here he becomes a proficient student and leading moral example for his classmates . In later life, he is conflicted as to his religious and national roots, and becomes an expatriot of Ireland, spending much of his lifetime on the continent: in Paris, Zurich and Trieste.
His stormy financial existence, his faltering marriage, his ill daughter and serious eye problems deter but do not defeat him. He struggles on to get "Ulysses" published and then, "the Dubliners"; both at great effort and over the scrupulous morals of the day.
That he persisted, and carried on to become one of the leading provocative writers of his time, is a credit to his integrity, and courage. This book is a gem of research and dedication by the author., generously supplied with photographs . I give it five stars because there is no six star category !