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Joyce Cary


Joyce Cary was born in 1888 in Derry. The family had been an Anglo-Irish landlord family but had been ruined after the passing of the Irish Land Act in 1881. Cary’s father was an engineer and his mother – maiden name Joyce – was the daughter of a banker. The family moved to London soon after Cary’s birth, though he often spent summers in Ireland with relatives. However, he lived the rest of his life in England and this separation from the country of his birth informed his later writing. His mother died in 1898 and his father remarried.

His ambition was to be an artist and he travelled to France to study art in 1904. There he met an old painter who was no longer fashionable, and he became the model for Gulley Jimson in several of his novels. He then went to Edinburgh to study art but learned only that he did not have the talent to be an artist. He then went to Trinity College, Oxford but only took a fourth in his degree, the lowest possible pass. He worked for the Red Cross in the Balkans during the Balkan War against Turkey. He then joined the Nigerian political service and served with a Nigerian regiment fighting the German colony of Cameroon. He was injured in 1916 and returned briefly to England, where he got married. He then returned to Nigeria.

He became sympathetic to the native Nigerians and worked to help them. His wife wanted him to give up political service and return to England. He was initially reluctant to do so but was able to sell some stories to the Saturday Evening Post. He returned to England and became a successful novelist and essayist. He died in 1957.

Books about Joyce Cary
Alan Bishop: Gentleman Rider: a life of Joyce Cary

Other links

Joyce Cary
Joyce Cary
Valedictory of a Great Writer


1908 Verse (as Arthur Cary)
1932 Aissa Saved
1933 An American Visitor
1936 The African Witch
1938 Castle Corner
1939 Mister Johnson
1939 Power in Men
1940 Charley is My Darling
1941 A House of Children
1941 Herself Surprised
1941 The Case for African Freedom
1942 To Be a Pilgrim
1943 Process of Real Freedom
1944 The Horse’s Mouth
1945 Marching Soldier
1946 The Moonlight
1947 Britain and West Africa
1947 The Drunken Sailor: A Ballad-Epic
1949 A Fearful Joy
1952 Prisoner of Grace
1953 Except the Lord
1955 Not Honour More
1956 The Old Strife at Plant’s
1958 Art and Reality
1959 The Captive and the Free
1960 Spring Song and other Stories
1962 The Case for African Freedom, and Other Writings on Africa
1964 Memoir of the Bobotes
1974 Cock Jarvis: An Unfinished Novel
1976 Selected Essays