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James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (Irish Seamus Seoighe; 2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish writer and poet, widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Along with Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf, he is a key figure in the development of the modernist novel. He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922). His other major works are the short story collection Dubliners (1914) and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939).
Although most of his adult life was spent outside the country, Joyce's Irish experiences are essential to his writings and provide all of the settings for his fiction and much of their subject matter. In particular, his rocky early relationship with the Irish Catholic Church is reflected by a similar conflict in his character Stephen Dedalus, who appears in several of his works. His fictional universe is firmly rooted in Dublin and reflects his family life and the events and friends (and enemies) from his school and college days; Ulysses is set with precision in the real streets and alleyways of the city. As the result of the combination of this attention to one place and his lengthy travels throughout Europe, he became both one of the most cosmopolitan and one of the most local of all the great English language modernists.