James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist

Front Cover
Createspace Independent Pub, Mar 3, 2010 - Fiction - 176 pages
"A Portrait of the Artist" 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" 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," 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" is truly superb, making it easy to appreciate why Joyce became famous.

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About the author (2010)

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish writer and poet, widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Along with Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner, Joyce is a key figure in the development of the modernist novel. He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922). Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Although most of his adult life was spent outside the country, Joyce's Irish experiences are essential to his writings and provide all of the settings for his fiction and much of their subject matter. In particular, his rocky early relationship with the Irish Catholic Church is reflected by a similar conflict in his character Stephen Dedalus, who appears in two of his novels. His fictional universe is firmly rooted in Dublin and reflects his family life and the events and friends (and enemies) from his school and college days; Ulysses is set with precision in the real streets and alleyways of the city. As the result of the combination of this attention to one place and his voluntary exile in continental Europe, most notably in Paris, Joyce paradoxically became both one of the most cosmopolitan yet most regionally focused of all the English language writers of his time.

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