James Joyce was an Irish writer considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century . He lived between February 2, 1882 and January 13, 1941.

Author of poetry, essays and drama, he is one of the greatest writers in literature. Without a doubt, who does not read it is missing something important in his life.

From his acclaimed Ulysses, through his controversial Finnegans Wake, Dubliners or the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he is a representative of Anglo-Saxon modernism along with writers such as TS Elliot, Virginia Wolf and Ezra Pound.

“It is the most important expression that our time has found” T.S. Elliot

But it is not an author that is easy to read, you have to be patient and know how to appreciate it. It doesn’t work very well if the reading is compulsory, the reader must look for it , find it and want it.

If you are one of those who want to read James Joyce, in the following list you will find the best 11 books that he published and that can be found translated into Spanish.


  • Number of pages: 440
  • Edition year: 2017

At 8 in the morning on June 16, 1904, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom woke up in their respective homes, with the sacred objective of having breakfast.

Throughout the rest of the day and late into the night, Leopold Bloom will tour various locations in Dublin, occasionally meeting Stephen Dedalus.

Between several encounters between the two characters during the course of the work, drunkenness and conversations that are difficult to follow, the reader will find himself on such an exhaustive tour of the city that he will end up knowing it as if he had been born there.

Ulysses is James Joyce’s masterpiece, which curiously was not written to entertain the general public, at least not as we understand the term today.

It consists of 18 chapters, each of them written with different structures, so we can see it as 18 novels in one, with the same characters but told differently.

Ulysses is a different book that must be approached without complexes or prejudices . One of the most important works in the history of literature.

The dead

  • Number of pages: 120
  • Edition year: 2018

Once a year, a couple of old spinsters give a party attended by friends and family. In it there is dancing, drinking, people and conversation. For a moment, everyone can forget about the difficulties, enjoy and have a good time.

But among all that laughter, there is also the concern of the two old women for two guests at the party: one, who is the typical drunk at the party, represents disorder; the other is his beloved nephew Gabriel, the one in charge of giving the speech and carving the goose, he represents order.

So far it seems like a story about a typical scene from the society of that time, but at the end of the party comes the unexpected turn of the hand of Joyce’s genius.

On the way back to the hotel, Gabriel spends the whole way reminiscing about better times with his wife, and wishes to possess her, but when he arrives, things are not as they should be. Her wife has changed by listening to a song by her, which she once dedicated to her by a lover of hers who gave her life to wait for her.

One of the best stories in the history of literature , is part of the acclaimed Dubliners.

Portrait of the adolescent artist

  • Number of pages: 232
  • Edition year: 2017

Published in 1916, it is the first novel published by the author that, although it does not reach the level of Ulysses or Finnegans Wake, equally contains the hallmark of Joyce.

It is a novel narrated in the third person that deals with the apprenticeship of the narrator, Stephen Dedalus, Joyce’s alter ego.

The protagonist recounts the key moments that took place during his stay at a Jesuit boarding school, and later at the university. He tells us about the influence this stage had on his life, and his responsibilities as the eldest son in his family.

A story closer and easier to read than other of his most famous works, where the reader can feel identified with the protagonist.


  • Number of pages: 224
  • Edition year: 2017

This novel is made up of several stories that follow a recurring pattern: in most of them, the characters have a desire, they do their best to achieve it, but in the end they give up and return to the initial point of desire in which they were.

During their respective stories, the characters in Dubliners experience an almost religious revelation during a trivial moment in their routines. But far from bringing hope or a new perspective, these revelations only tinge them with frustration, sadness, and regret.

Of these stories, the already mentioned The Dead and Duplicates can be highlighted . Joyce himself explains that his intention with this book was to write a new chapter in his country’s moral history , and Dublin was the ideal place to recreate it.

Cats of copenhagen

  • Number of pages: 38
  • Edition year: 2013

The Cats of Copenhagen is the result of Joyce’s correspondence with her favorite grandson , Stephen.

In previous shipments, Joyce had sent him a toy cat full of candy before heading to the Danish capital.

Once in the city, the writer sees how it is impossible to get something similar to send it to his grandson, so he writes him a letter explaining why there are no cats in Copenhagen.

Written directly and easy to read, -his grandson was four years old when he sent the letters- it shows the simplest and funniest side of the author.

Finnegan’s Wake

  • Number of pages: 640
  • Edition year: 2016

This is a huge, difficult, incredible book, the end of fifteen years of James Joyce’s work, a masterpiece.

A book that had survived attempts to translate it into Spanish, until the efforts of Marcelo Zabaloy appeared. Before him, many had tried, falling by the wayside because of how complicated the task was.

But Zabaloy tried, and in five years he got this great work translated thanks to his efforts. A book full of puns, embedding of other languages, double meanings, jargon and neologisms.

640 pages full of all these elements, which make it a labyrinthine and unclassifiable work. Like many of his novels, you have to delve into it without prejudice and let yourself be carried away by the rhythm without expecting to reach a specific point.

My Brother James Joyce

  • Author: Joyce Stanislaus
  • Number of pages: 304
  • Edition year: 2011

My Brother James Joyce, is a collection of Stanislaus Joyce’s memories of his older brother, James Joyce, based on the diary that he faithfully kept throughout his life and where he wrote down the conversations they both had.

Stanislaus always tried to have a different personality from his brother. He fought for greater individual freedom, opposing the authorities, both fascist and imperial.

He suffered his exile from Ireland much more than his brother. He spent forty-nine years away from his native country. After 1920, the two brothers rarely saw each other, and each of these meetings was painful for Stanislaus.

However, they were written continuously until Joyce’s death in 1941. The death of his brother affected the author deeply, deteriorating his health until he finally passed away in Trieste, leaving this book unfinished.

TS Elliot referred to this work as ” a unique book that deserves a permanent place alongside the works of James Joyce.”

My Brother James Joyce is a book that anyone can read , whether or not they have read James’s books. In fact, it works perfectly to delve into his works.

Complete poetry

  • Number of pages: 208
  • Edition year: 2007

Despite being best known for his prose in works such as Ulysses, Joyce’s poetry has been praised by the most discerning critics and is considered some of the best in English poetry .

In it, the author expresses his feelings for love, betrayal, melancholy and feminine beauty, as well as other themes, with a simple style, paying special attention to the rhythm and harmony of the images.

Both the playwright Samuel Becket, one of the most important representatives of literary experimentalism of the 20th century, and the poet Ezra Pound, highlighted his verses and showed great enthusiasm for reading his poems.

Apple poems

  • Number of pages: 72
  • Edition year: 2019

Continuing with the author’s poetry, Apple Poems is his second book of poems , which represents a change from previous works, thanks to the influence of the evolution of his prose with books like Ulises.

James Joyce, expert in the English language as he is, easily creates new phrases, languages, and he also knows how to undo them.

The very title of this work is an excellent example of this practice. It is a play on words with Pommes, which in French means “ apples”, and poems , which in English means “ poems”. The literal translation would be ” Poems a penny” or ” Apples a penny.”

Short writings

  • Number of pages: 208
  • Edition year: 2009

Short Writings collects small texts, impressions and works written in the early age of the Irish author, before he published his most important books.

We could think of it as a compilation of the work of an artist in the making , and considering that it is one of the greatest of the 20th century, it is a must-have for anyone looking to pursue a creative career.

The first of these works is about Epiphanies, a collection of notes that Joyce would take throughout his career, about his family environment and life in Dublin, with the intention of integrating them into a novel he was writing, Stephen Hero and that it would not see the light until after his death.

In the work we also find the Portrait of the Artist, where we see many themes that are a central piece of his works such as his position towards sex, his vision of religion and Catholicism ; and Giacomo Joyce, the only work that is not located in Dublin.

Love letters to Nora Barnacle

  • Number of pages: 92
  • Edition year: 2020

James Joyce and Nora Bernacle met on June 16, 1904. When the author saw a tall, beautiful, red-haired woman walking along the River Liffey, he approached her and asked who she was. She answered him and a few days later they agreed to meet and went to a dark area of ​​Dublin port.

Far from the closed sexual mores of the time, Nora and Joyce did more than hug and kiss. Amazed by the young woman’s initiative, Joyce, a prisoner of her jealousy, would doubt Nora’s virginity. But she would not abandon him and over time he grew to show a deep love for Joyce.

Love Letters to Nora Barnacle brings together the love letters Joyce and Nora wrote to each other throughout their passionate lives. They both decided to flee Dublin at an early age, he at 21 and she at 19, arriving in Trieste.

Nora did not deny him any of the fantasies that Joyce might have, willing to please him, and faithfully accompanied him throughout a life full of changes.

Nora knew how to annul Joyce’s sometimes childish jealousy, with a strong and deep relationship that she knew how to go to the end, despite the fact that she was not an admirer of his work. It is known that in Ulysses she could only reach page 27.