This collection of original, cohesive and concise essays charts the vital contextual backgrounds to Joyce's life and writing. The volume begins with a chronology of Joyce's publishing history, an analysis of his various biographies and a study of his many published and unpublished letters. It goes on to examine how his works were received in the main twentieth-century critical and theoretical schools. Most importantly, it places Joyce within multiple Irish, British and European contexts, providing a lively sense of the varied and changing world in which he lived, which formed him, and from which he wrote. The essays collectively show how Joyce was rooted in his times, how he is both a product and a critic of his multiple contexts, and how important he remains to the world of literature, criticism and culture.