Gordon Bowker has a new biography of James Joyce.
Yet Bowker’s biography – packed as it is with incidents, ideas and sympathy – proves inspiring. It shows Joyce’s recognition of his creative vocation as a gift to the world, though it cost so much in the way of poverty, misery and mortification. Joyce’s meanness about trifles was redeemed by expansive generosity in great matters. Although childish, wilful and ruthless, he was devoid of vanity, fiercely disciplined about his work and showed heroic perseverance.