A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man

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Createspace Independent Pub, Dec 29, 2009 - Fiction - 176 pages
"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," James Joyce's semi-autobiographical first novel, tells the story of Stephen Dedalus, a sensitive and creative youth who rebels against his family, his education, and his country by committing himself to the artist's life. The book starts with Joyce recalling a few childhood memories which will most likely stir memories in the reader as well. Joyce has very colorful descriptions of his parents, relatives, and his teachers, especially various Irish Catholic priests. The prose and writing in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is among the most impressive that most will ever see. The book contains beautiful descriptions of Joyce's childhood, then Catholic schools, then his college days. Laced with Irish expressions and phrases, the prose and vocabulary avoids lengthy Hemingway-like phrases. Expressive and sometimes rambling, James Joyce's prose is truly creative though not always very well structured. Joyce provides no narration in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," instead, writing as if we are watching a movie, mostly going forward in time but not always. The reader is left to sort out the time and place or if it is real or just a dream as we travel from scene to scene through the book. It is up to the reader to determine what it all means from the dialogue. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is truly superb, making it easy to appreciate why Joyce became famous.

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About the author (2009)

James Joyce was born on February 2, 1882, in Dublin, Ireland, into a large Catholic family. Joyce was a very good pupil, studying poetics, languages, and philosophy at Clongowes Wood College, Belvedere College, and the Royal University in Dublin. Joyce taught school in Dalkey, Ireland, before marrying in 1904. Joyce lived in Zurich and Triest, teaching languages at Berlitz schools, and then settled in Paris in 1920 where he figured prominently in the Parisian literary scene, as witnessed by Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. Joyce's collection of fine short stories, Dubliners, was published in 1914, to critical acclaim. Joyce's major works include A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, and Stephen Hero. Ulysses, published in 1922, is considered one of the greatest English novels of the 20th century. The book simply chronicles one day in the fictional life of Leopold Bloom, but it introduces stream of consciousness as a literary method and broaches many subjects controversial to its day. As avant-garde as Ulysses was, Finnegans Wake is even more challenging to the reader as an important modernist work. Joyce died just two years after its publication, in 1941.

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