Welcome to The British Literary Ballads Archive, a site dedicated to a unique genre of literary imitations of traditional ballads. The site contains a growing archive of over 700 poems, as well as short biographical sketches of the poets who wrote them.

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James Joyce (1882-1941)


Irish novelist, born in Dublin on 2 February 1882. In 1888 the six-year-old Joyce was sent to Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school, but had to leave in 1892 because of his father’s bankruptcy. Then in 1893, he was admitted without fees to Belvedere College, a Jesuit grammar school in Dublin. He enrolled at the University College, Dublin, in 1898, and studied Latin, Italian and French. During this period, he wrote articles on Ibsen’s new drama and many other reviews, and composed at least two plays (now lost).

 In 1904, Joyce began writing a novel, Stephen Hero, which he never published under its original title. In the same year, he met Nora Barnacle, a young woman from Galway city. They went on a first date on 16 June 1904, the date that Ulysses commemorates, and which is still celebrated as “Bloom’s Day”.

 In 1905, Joyce and Nora moved to Trieste, which was part of Austria-Hungary until World War I, and he obtained a job teaching English. From 1907 to 1912, he returned to Dublin many times in order to set up the first regular cinema in Dublin and to negotiate the publication of Dubliners with his Dublin publisher. However, his June 1912 trip to Dublin turned out to be fruitless, and thereafter he never returned to Ireland.

 World War I compelled him to move to Zurich in 1915; he began to live in Paris in 1920. During this period, with Pound’s advocacy and financial support notably from Miss Harriet Shaw Weaver, Joyce published A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922), and Finnegans Wake (1939). (N. M.)

1.The Ballad of Persse O’Reilly