What is a literary classic and why are these classic works important to the world?
A literary classic is a work of the highest excellence that has something important to say about life and/or the human condition and says it with great artistry. A classic, through its enduring presence, has withstood the test of time and is not bound by time, place, or customs. It speaks to us today as forcefully as it spoke to people one hundred or more years ago, and as forcefully as it will speak to people of future generations. For this reason, a classic is said to have universality.
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in Dublin, on February 2, 1882, into a Roman Catholic household. Joyce's father had failed at various types of employment, and he struggled to keep up the façade that the family still belonged to the comfortable middle-class. At sixteen, Joyce entered University College in Dublin, where he soon began to write a few lyric poems. During these early years, Joyce developed an anti-religious sentiment, especially toward the conservatism of the Church; this continued throughout his life. He graduated in 1902 and went to Paris for a year, returning in time to comfort his mother shortly before she died. Two years later, he went abroad again, this time with the woman he would eventually marry, Nora Barnacle, the inspiration and model for Molly Bloom, the heroine of Joyce's most important book, Ulysse (1922).
A collection of Joyce's early poems, Chamber Music, appeared in 1907, which showed his love for of musical forms, and this appreciation is evident throughout many of his works. Joyce used words similarly to how composers use sounds—to fill the page with accents, colors, noises, and textures. In addition, while still in college, he communicated with Henrik Ibsen, the playwright; Isben's...
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