James Joyce was a pioneering writer of modernist fiction and poetry, known for his innovative prose style and complex wordplay. Born in 1882 in Dublin, Joyce left Ireland at the age of twenty to study in Paris. Within months, he started his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Published in 1914, A Portrait established Joyce as both an experimental stylist and a pusher of boundaries who questioned religious and nationalist orthodoxy.
A Portrait was received as a bold achievement by most of Joyce’s literary peers, but some critics dismissed its realism as a dirty obsession with sex and sewage. These controversies were soon eclipsed by Joyce’s monumental Ulysses. Today regarded as the definitive modernist novel in English, Ulysses was officially banned as obscene in both Britain and the United States, earning Joyce a perennial place among literary masters whose works were suppressed.