James Joyce

James Joyce

James Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish author, part of the modernist avant-garde movement, and is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. His grand oeuvre, Ulysses, is notoriously hard to read, and yet those who have read it—often with the help of some sort of guide—say the payoff is “immense pleasure: no book gets closer to the ineffable experience of human play and tragedy.”

If you’re starting out on reading Joyce, his other works recommended on Five Books may be an easier starting point: his short story collection, Dubliners, or his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. In addition to its literary merit, the novel is also an important insight into modern Irish history, according to historian Richard Bourke.

Books by James Joyce

Interviews where books by James Joyce were recommended

The best books on Modern Irish History, recommended by Richard Bourke

A “powerful and aggravating absence of consensus” came to define the Irish political experience, says the historian Richard Bourke. Here he picks the best books for gaining a range of perspectives on Irish history, singling out James Joyce as offering insight into the divergence of nationalist opinion.

The Best Long Books To Read in Lockdown, recommended by Five Books

If you’re stuck in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be time to finally crack open that one long read you always meant to get around to, but slid down your list of books for whatever reason—not enough time, too many pages. Problem is, there are so many monster doorstoppers, and it can be hard to tell which are worth your time. The Five Books editors weigh in:

Robin Robertson on Books that Influenced Him

“That’s what writing is: a struggle with oneself.” Scottish poet Robin Robertson—author of the verse novel The Long Take, shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize—lists the five works that have most influenced his writing, from Ulysses to Heaney.

© Five Books 2023