August 14 ~ Portals of Discovery James Joyce novels

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." ~ James Joyce

James Joyce

Dublin salesman James Joyce (18821941) modeled his 700-page novel Ulysses on Homer's epic and created the revolutionary style of "interior monologue" with stream-of-consciousness wordplay.

"The now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past," he wrote. The book shows, hour by hour, inside and out, a single day in the life of an ordinary man named Leopold Bloom.

"I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles," Joyce confessed wickedly. "It will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality."

Joyce wrote all his books entirely by hand. With no interest in using a typewriter, he preferred blunt black pencils, purchased at Smith's in Paris, and pencils of different colors to distinguish the parts he was working on.

"All fiction," said Joyce, "is autobiographical fantasy."

Published in 1922, Ulysses featured words of lust and longing. Labeled obscene and blasphemous, the book was banned in America and Britain for 12 years and frequently smuggled into both countries. Its publication made Joyce an international celebrity.

Because of his mastery of the English language, Joyce has been called one of the most influential and significant novelist of the 20th century. His contemporary, George Orwell observed, "Joyce is a poet and also an elephantine pedant."

Celebrate each portal of discovery.