Born in 1882 in a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, James Joyce's family life was ensconced by the turbulent Irish politics of the time and the early arguments Joyce overheard about various Irish leaders filtered their way into Joyce’s fiction.
In 1914, the year Dubliners reached publication, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was also published in magazine installments, and published as a novel in 1916. Portrait is mainly, though not entirely, autobiographical, taking place (like all of Joyce’s work) in Dublin. Once while visiting a family friend Joyce was told by his mother that his works “[were] not fit to read.” If such was the case, Joyce responded, “life isn’t fit to live.” (Ellmann, James Joyce, 537).
Literature at it's best tells the tale of the times and the compilation that is the Dubliners accomplishes just that.