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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (original 1916; edition 1972)

by James Joyce

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13,891None148 (3.73)1 / 399
Member:tiffin
Title:A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Authors:James Joyce
Info:Penguin
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Tags:Modern Irish Lit.

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916)

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English (110)  Portuguese (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (114)
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
Boring. But, maybe, I'm not just ready yet to go with a Classic. ( )
  mikesunlight | Mar 20, 2014 |
Read it because I had to. I'm sure it's a fine book. ( )
  joeyr | Mar 15, 2014 |
Read it because I had to. I'm sure it's a fine book. ( )
  joeyr | Mar 15, 2014 |
I can't deny it, I approached this novel with some trepidation. Joyce's reputation is that he is "difficult" and "experimental" and therefore "inaccessible", that he is revered but unreadable, except for some of the rude bits.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was first published in 1916 and comes at an interesting point in Joyce's career, after the Dubliners collection of short stories that made his name but before his most highly regarded novel Ulysses and his most challenging, Finnegans Wake. The novel does contain some of the modernist features that give Joyce his challenging reputation: stream of consciousness, shifting perspectives, non-linear structure, very little speech, explicit on taboo subjects. However, it is coherent and became less daunting as I got into the book. And, beyond some very admiring descriptions of attractive women, there is nothing rude here.

Possibly, its readability is because it is thinly disguised memoir. We follow Stephen Dedalus from his school days at Clongowes, through his flirtation with possibly joining the priesthood whilst attending a Jesuit run college, and his time at University College during which he has a crisis of faith and decides he has to leave Ireland: all things that Joyce himself did.

This sounds odd, but I guess what I wasn't expecting was just how Irish this novel would be in its themes. There is an early scene at a family Christmas dinner at which Stephen's father, Simon, and his neighbours discuss Irish politics (perhaps at their most sensitive, given Ireland's imminent independence). We are treated to a lengthy sermon from one of the Jesuits on the last judgement. Catholicism shapes Stephen's life in a way I hadn't anticipated.

The other very Irish aspect was the language. I listened to Naxos's audiobook edition read by Jim Norton, and his gentle brogue bought to the forefront the rhythms of the writing in a way that reading the book myself off the page might not have done. The reader also gets a strong sense of early 20th century Dublin that I guess Joyce must have fully developed in Ulysses.

As you might guess, this isn't a plot driven book. The long sermon on the Last Judgement in the middle was, frankly, tedious; possibly that was the point, and Stephen's discussion of aesthetics with fellow student Cranly was just confusing. Thus, I admired many aspects of this novel, and can see its place in literary history, but I can't say I really liked it all that much. Nevertheless, I'm not scared of James Joyce any more. I'm definitely curious about Dubliners, and might read Ulysses one day, not something I might have said before reading this. ( )
1 vote Grammath | Mar 13, 2014 |
I feel like I don't really get Joyce and why he's so admired. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (98 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Joyceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atherton, J.S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deane, SeamusContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacques, RobinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keogh, BrianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerner, HughIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes." ~ ovid, metamorphoses VIII, 188
Dedication
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Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo....
Quotations
Sometimes a fever gathered within him and led him to rove alone in the evening along the quiet avenue. The peace of the gardens and the kindly lights in the windows poured a tender influence into his restless heart. The noise of children at play annoyed him and their silly voices made him feel, even more keenly than he had felt at Clongowes, that he was different from others. He did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how, but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured.
O! In the virgin womb of the imagination the word was made flesh. Gabriel the seraph had come to the virgin's chamber. An afterglow deepened within his spirit, whence the white flame had passed, deepening to a rose and ardent light.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142437344, Paperback)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man portrays Stephen Dedalus’s Dublin childhood and youth, providing an oblique self-portrait of the young James Joyce. At its center are questions of origin and source, authority and authorship, and the relationship of an artist to his family, culture, and race. Exuberantly inventive, this coming-of-age story is a tour de force of style and technique.


@Bildungsroman I’m in college. Cool. But I live at home with mom. That doesn’t make me a tool, does it?

Nah, I’m totally cool. Look, I’ve got this cool tweed hat. Yeah, I’m cool. Totally.

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:57 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The chronicle of Stephen Dedalus's Dublin childhood and young offers an oblique self-portrait of the young James Joyce. Exuberantly inventive, this coming-of-age story is a tour de force of style and technique.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 16 descriptions

Legacy Library: James Joyce

James Joyce has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See James Joyce's legacy profile.

See James Joyce's author page.

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Audible.com

Eleven editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0142437344, 0141182660

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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