Unlucky Jim

James Joyce
A New Biography
Gordon Bowker
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $35, 608 pp.

James Joyce (1882–1941) had a feckless father, a long-suffering mother, and ten siblings. Stricken by failure, poverty, and premature deaths, his family was in precipitous decline throughout his lifetime. He was well educated at two prestigious Jesuit schools—Belvedere and Clongowes—and at University College, Dublin, the Catholic university founded by Cardinal Newman. As a young man Joyce rejected the church and became an atheist, but he remained riveted by...

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About the Author

Jeffrey Meyers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has published Hemingway: The Critical Heritage (1982), Hemingway: A Biography (1985), and Hemingway: Life and Art (2000), as well as Samuel Johnson: The Struggle (2008), The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe (2009), George Orwell: Life and Art (2010), and John Huston: Courage and Art (2011).