Maturity and final years

Moving towards Finnegans Wake

In 1923, Joyce started writing Work in Progress which would later become his most experimental work, Finnegans Wake. In 1924, the first sections of Work in Progress were published in Transatlantic Review, with further segments being published in transition in 1927.

1927 also saw the publication of Joyce's second poetry collection, Pomes Penyeach, published by Shakespeare and Company. In 1928 Anna Livia Plurabelle (an early, shorter version of Finnegans Wake) was published in New York. In 1930, despite undergoing a series of further eye operations, Joyce finished and published Haveth Childers Everywhere, a sequel to Anna Livia Plurabelle.

Bust of James Joyce in St Stephen's Green Dublin, image available through Creative CommonsMarriage and death

On 4 July 1931, in London, Joyce and Nora were officially married, so as to enable their children to inherit their estate. In December of the same year, Joyce's father passed away. In 1932 (on 15th February), Joyce's grandson, Stephen James Joyce, was born to Giorgio and his wife Helen. Meanwhile, Lucia's mental health worsened; she was treated by analytical psychiatrist Carl Jung in 1934. 

Ulysses on trial

In 1933, Ulysses faced an obscenity trial in America. Ultimately, Judge John M. Woolsey declared that the book was not obscene, which meant that it could be legally published in the USA. Over the next couple of years, several versions of Ulysses were published, including the Random House edition (1934), the Limited Editions Club edition with illustrations by Henri Matisse (1935), and the Bodley Head edition (1936).

In 1938, Joyce finished Finnegans Wake; the following year it was published simultaneously in London and New York.

War and death

In 1939, World War Two broke out and the Joyce family moved back to neutral Zurich. On 13 January 1941 Joyce died, following surgery on a perforated ulcer. He declined Catholic last rites and was buried in Fluntern cemetery, Zurich. Nora died ten years later and was buried separately in Fluntern. Both bodies were reburied together in 1966.

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