Family For the harassed individual James Joyce, art supplied a means of getting outside himself. After a placid early childhood he had to learn to escape distress by the deliberate employment of detachment. Distress entered his life in 1891, when he was nine years old and his father removed him from the expensive boarding school of Clongowes Wood. The following year, as a further economy, the family moved from the fashionable neighbourhood of Bray, where they had been living comfortably, into Dublin, where they were to live in increasing squalor. This was only the first of many such moves, each marking in its turn a further descent. The descent, however, was never regarded by John Joyce, the father, as social. He never ceased to have a high regard for himself as a gentleman, and James, his eldest son, inherited this hauteur.