Customer Reviews for

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A Great Insight into the Mind of a Youth in Conflict with his Upbringing

This James Joyce's most personal novel written about one man's impressionable childhood and follows him through to his college years as he comes to a greater understanding of individualism and intellectulal freedom and throws off the limitations of his catholic upbringi...
This James Joyce's most personal novel written about one man's impressionable childhood and follows him through to his college years as he comes to a greater understanding of individualism and intellectulal freedom and throws off the limitations of his catholic upbringing. The novel is a masterpiece of writing style that defies time and place and becomes a book of everlasting, and everpresent importance. The book is written in a stream of conscience style (somewhat similar to Dostoevsky but more so) that can at times be difficult to follow. This is certainly not your typical beach reading, or grocery line novel. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a terribly moving novel, but it must be read with great patience, and presence of mind. You have to be willing to work for it to feel the true and indescribable force of this novel. The novel is required reading for any serious reader.

posted by Anonymous on December 8, 1999

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

boring!

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is ranked by the Modern Library as the third greatest English-language novel of the twentieth century. I have no idea why. I just found it to be extremely boring. The book is the semi-autobiographical coming of age of Stephen Deda...
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is ranked by the Modern Library as the third greatest English-language novel of the twentieth century. I have no idea why. I just found it to be extremely boring. The book is the semi-autobiographical coming of age of Stephen Dedalus, the alter ego of James Joyce. From his questions and anxiety over the roles of women and his dealings with them to his on-again-off-again struggles with religion, A Portrait of the Artist...just didn't keep my interest. It's not a bad story really but I just did not dig the prose. I haven't given up on James Joyce yet but I really hope his other books won't put me to sleep.

posted by songcatchers on November 12, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 1999

    A Great Insight into the Mind of a Youth in Conflict with his Upbringing

    This James Joyce's most personal novel written about one man's impressionable childhood and follows him through to his college years as he comes to a greater understanding of individualism and intellectulal freedom and throws off the limitations of his catholic upbringing. The novel is a masterpiece of writing style that defies time and place and becomes a book of everlasting, and everpresent importance. The book is written in a stream of conscience style (somewhat similar to Dostoevsky but more so) that can at times be difficult to follow. This is certainly not your typical beach reading, or grocery line novel. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a terribly moving novel, but it must be read with great patience, and presence of mind. You have to be willing to work for it to feel the true and indescribable force of this novel. The novel is required reading for any serious reader.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    boring!

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is ranked by the Modern Library as the third greatest English-language novel of the twentieth century. I have no idea why. I just found it to be extremely boring. The book is the semi-autobiographical coming of age of Stephen Dedalus, the alter ego of James Joyce. From his questions and anxiety over the roles of women and his dealings with them to his on-again-off-again struggles with religion, A Portrait of the Artist...just didn't keep my interest. It's not a bad story really but I just did not dig the prose. I haven't given up on James Joyce yet but I really hope his other books won't put me to sleep.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2002

    An Essential Classic!

    James Joyce is one of the world's greatest authors of all time. He wrote poetry and prose and, in his final book, Finnegans Wake, created his own language. This book is a great tale of Stephen Deadalus through his early life that, in analysis, provides a 'portrait' of the young James Joyce. Probably Joyce's best book for the beginner Joyce-fan, this Penguin Putnam Classic is fully annotated by an ingenious scholar to help the reader who does not understand all of Joyce's plays on words and tricks. This is essential for everyone's personal library!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

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    Not a fan

    The style of writing was really interesting, though I'm not sure if I completely liked it or not. The subject matter wasn't interesting to me at all. If you can get through two-thirds of the book then the prose is rather beautiful and philosophical. I only skimmed through it, though, as I could not bring myself to keep reading the two-thirds of it that were completely boring. By the time I got to the interesting parts I really didn't know what was going on in the story, only that the prose was fantastic and the main character had undergone a transformation from an obedient boy to a philosopher in his own right.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2005

    for some more than others...

    I did not find this book to be very enjoyable. Although Joyce certainly deserves recognition for his stylistic achievements, his plot leaves much to be wanted. There were more references to religion than I felt necessary and the characters were not at all likeable. That said, this is probably a more enjoyable work of fiction for readers who can relate to the character's need to become more than who he is.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Better

    This has less typos than the other edition on b&n, but theres still some issues. If you haven't read much joyce, i suggest picking up a (dare i say it) physical copy...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    Twilight rp

    Here.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Ashlee

    I hate it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Great Gift

    This was an old favorite and recently purchased as a graduation gift.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    We are introduced to the character Stephen as a young boy as he

    We are introduced to the character Stephen as a young boy as he grows to manhood.  Stephen is sometimes strange, smart, brave and shy.   Emphasis on the strange most of the time.




    This is a book I almost wish I had read it for a class so there would be a discussion and I would understand it better.   




    I am not sure how Joyce considers this young man an artist because he is inches away from becoming a priest.  Unless this is suppose to be Joyce’s story.  The first chapter is gibberish to me and I almost didn’t go past it. But  I did and it got better. Although as soon as it got better and I understood what Stephen was talking about he would on OCD rant about pretty much on anything like hell, authors, philosophy …




    I know a lot of people dislike this book and sadly I am one of them. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    Highly Recommended!

    James Joyce artfully crafts his novel to examine a struggle that everyone must go through at some point or another: finding yourself and your own path. Joyce is brilliant and it is my opinion that everyone should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2004

    an original

    The strengths and weaknesses of this book are one: either you love them or disdain them. Joyce and his contemporaries stripped ideas of plot and character further and further away, until the mundane was endowed with the extraordinary- even today, this is too much a leap for some readers, who can't seem to find anything satisfying to cling on to in Stephen's persona or happenstance- Can we leave it at: either you like it or don't? But indisputably the language is extraordinary... if we read the book for the language alone, like Gertrude Stein encourages us with some of her books, it'd be enough.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2003

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

    I read this book when I was a teenager and, although I couldn't understand it all, of course, I was enthralled, enchanted, intoxicated, inspired by it ... Poetry, like music, communicates without always being understood. Since then, I've lost count of the number of times I've reread it. It captures so well the feeling of being a child, ... the upbringing of an Irish Catholic, ... the growth of an artist, ... the experience of writing a poem, ... the birth of an adult soul from the womb of childhood!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a virtuoso performance in language. The imitations of the thoughts and perceptions of a child are masterful. The famous sermon about the tortures of hell is amazing every time you read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2003

    A Must Read

    This is probably one of the best books of all time. At the start of this book nothing will make sense but if you keep with it things will come together. Once you have read it once you can't wait to read it agin.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2003

    Narcissistic Prose

    James Joyce's Portrait is a self-centered, boring and difficult book to grasp. His flailing ideas that the reader should have to work for the book--in order to understand and appreciate it etc etc is absurd. Literature is for pleasure and joy. I don't think many people want to read a book in order to struggle and feel pain. Portrait is written about a seemingly regular, boring young man: Stephen Dedalus. It is only Joyce's language that manages to bring this hum-drum character to life. I can't believe we are expected to revel in Stephen's epipahanies and feel interest in his mundane life. The fact that Joyce would try to pawn this off an a semi autibiography is absurd. Perhaps he is trying to show how intrinsically boring and ordinary he is...in that case, I don't want to have to read through his life. The book is written lazily, especially the end, where Stephen and Joyce simultaneously prattle on. Beautiful language, terrible read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2002

    Make Your Choice Joyce !

    In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce portrays numerous images of his early childhood through his late teenage years. Searching for his true purpose in the world, Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist in the work, encounters many hardships and trials; he struggles against his family, his church, his nationality, and himself. A Portait of the Artist as a Young Man provides an accurate insight of Joyce's mind and explains his idea of true art associated with aesthetics. Be sure to read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man before tackling Joyce's monumental masterpiece, Ulysses.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2001

    Essential Joyce

    Though sometimes overshadowed by Ulysses, Joyce's first novel is ultimately quite meaningful and a pleasure to read. Portrait begins Joyce's experiments with language in its shifting styles, but on the whole is easier to understand than his later work. As with Ulysses, its richness is twofold: it portrays in detail the condition of Ireland approximately 100 years ago; but the ideas and truths pondered here are rather timeless. This book is full of memorable scenes and passages and I would highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2000

    wonderful book

    this book changed the way i view many different things. i recommend this book to people all of the time, and i am going to purchase a different version of the book with foot notes in it so i can read it again

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2000

    Joyce's art it at its best

    Unquestionably one of the literary giants of the twentieth-century and of all time, James Joyce captured the adolescence of Stephen Daedalus, who desired to become a writer. In Portrait of the Artist, Joyce perfects the art and style that would appear in Ulysses and later in the pure art of Finnegans Wake. This coming-of-age novel set in fin-de-siecle Ireland sees Daedalus trying to find creativity in the face of an increasingly restricting country, religion, and family. Joyce's works are a progression, and in order to understand Ulysses, one must first comprehend Portrait. Portrait is one of the masterpieces of a truly gifted artist.

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