James Augustine Joyce, born on February 2, 1882, was the oldest of the ten surviving children of John and Mary Joyce. Although John Joyce had a steady job until 1892, his financial irresponsibility and heavy drinking drew the family ever deeper into poverty. From 1892 onward, the Joyce family moved frequently, pursued by financial difficulties. Young James Joyce showed a keen intellect and attention to detail; his father once said of him, If that fellow was dropped in the middle of the Sahara, hed sit, be God, and make a map of it. James loved to arrange little plays, at one point casting his brother Stanislaus as Adam, his sister Margaret as Eve, and himself as the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Resolved to give his oldest son the best education in Ireland, John Joyce sent James to Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit school forty miles away, where James started in September 1888, at the age of six. The quality of the authors education remained a point of pride for him in later years.
Items Exhibited in the Early Life Section
James Joyce. Trust Not Appearances, ca. 1893.
James Joyce. Epiphanies (in Stanislaus Joyces hand), ca. 1903.
James Joyce. Letter to Henrik Ibsen. March, 1901. [view]
James Joyce. Manuscript fragment from The Holy Office. 1905.
George Harris Healey. Home of the Joyce Family at 7 St. Peters Road, Phibsborough, Dublin, 1960. [view]
James Joyce in a Sailor Suit, Age 6. Dublin, 1888.
Constantine P. Curran. James Joyce Standing beside a Greenhouse. Dublin, 1904.
James Joyce, Age 6, with his Mother, Father, and Maternal Grandfather. Dublin, 1888.