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James Joyce - Gordon Bowker

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James Joyce - a biography
Gordon Bowker
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
UK Publication Date

In almost every recent poll, Ulysses has been acclaimed the greatest novel of the twentieth century. It is generally regarded as one of the outstanding landmarks of literary modernism, as important as T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land in expressing the experimental and international spirit of post-war Europe in the 1920s. Of all the modernists, James Joyce has had probably the most lasting effect on serious fiction. Indeed, Eliot said he had 'killed the nineteenth century'.

Joyce's life followed the classic 'flight into exile' path taken by many creative writers in search of a broader vision. His fight against Irish parochial prejudices and censoriousness, his self-imposed exile from the country he loved, his stoical endurance of near-blindness, cast him in a heroic light. He was fine singer who could have had a successful career in opera and the concert hall. His dedication to authorship also picks him out as a writer in the romantic tradition of total commitment, suffering near-poverty and financial dependency for much of his life in his determination simply to write. He was fortunate in his benefactors.Four women in particular (Harriet Shaw Weaver, Margaret Anderson, Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier), through their generosity, ensured that Joyce was able to focus fully and continuously on his great literary projects, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

Richard Ellmann's much admired biography of Joyce first appeared in 1959 and was republished in 1982. But new material continues to emerge, and this new biography draws on that and attempts to get beyond the exterior life to explore the inner landscape of a writer who continues to influence and fascinate, well over a century after his birth.

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Gordon Bowker is the acclaimed author of a biography of Malcolm Lowry, (author of UNDER THE VOLCANO), entitled PURSUED BY FURIES and an excellent biography of George Orwell. He lives in Notting Hill, London.

This biography is both learned and readable; it is an attractive monument to a brilliant, kind-hearted, often unfortunate man.
THE SUNDAY TIMES - 19 June 2011 - Edmund Gordon

a scrupulously researched, entertainingly readable biography of a maddeningly protean, contradictory genius.
THE INDEPENDENT - 10 June 2011 - John Walsh

'a sound and readable telling of the writer's tale for newcomers, into whose hands it may be given without a qualm."

Bowker's biography - packed as it is with incidents, ideas and sympathy - proves inspiring.
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - 19 June 2011 - Richard Davenport-Hines

DAILY MAIL - 17 June 2011 - Peter Lewis

a readable, reliable biography in a new voice.
THE TIMES 18 June 2011 - Iain Finlayson

'This is an entertainingly readable biography of a genius."

a very accessible and solid biography.
THE SCOTSMAN - 18 June 2011 - Lesley McDowell

The author excels in his wit, clarity and sheer readability as he tackles in full the life of Ireland's greatest writer.
METRO - 24 June 2011

superb at capturing the sorrowful aspects of Joyce's circumstances.
METRO - 22 June 2011

Gordon Bowker's new biography of James Joyce draws on new materialto explore in greater depth than ever before the life and legacy of this extraordinary writer.
CHOICE - July 2011

informed by many new biographical sources and discoveries... a usefully demystifying version of the life of one of the 20th century's most complicated literary artists.
NEW STATESMAN - 27 June 2011

'good time for a strong new biography of James Joyce, 70 years after his death and almost 30 since the revised version of Richard Ellmann's classic contribution to the form...Bowker devotes a greater proportion of his book to Joyce's life after Ulysses than Ellmann does, the period of his physical decline, obsession with the mental health of Lucia, and dogged engagement with the night games of what became Finnegans Wake.'
THE OBSERVER - 3 July 2011 - Adam Mars-Jones

Reading Bowker on the genesis of Finnegans Wake make me want to read it again.
STANDPOINT - 1 July 2011 - Tibor Fischer

"Bowker has already written brilliantly on Malcolm Lowry and George Orwell and this new book extends the record ? and not only the record, but the entire epistemology of the Joycean discourse... has restored Joyce to his contradictory, ambivalent humanity... shrewd and highly readable biography."
Irish Examiner - 9 July 2011 - Thomas McCarthy

A wonderfully lively and meticulously researched account of the life and work of a fascinatingly inexplicable paradox.... wonderfully detailed, gripping...
The Tribune - Chris Proctor

This new biography is both learned and readable. It is an admirable monument to a brilliant yet often unfortunate man whose star still shines.
Catholic Herald - John Hinton

Detailed, thoughtful and illuminating, Gordon Bowker's portrait of the inimitable artist is sympathetic, challenging and thoroughly entertaining.
Good Book Guide

We owe Mr Bowker a debt of gratitude for his considerable courage in undertaking this mammoth task.
Books Ireland - Hugh McFadden

Keyword Index
Novelists, Irish - 20th century - Biography.
Country of Publication
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