A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man

( 39 )

Overview

James Joyce's first and most widely read novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the story of Stephen Dedalus, a young man struggling to decide between a religious vocation and an artistic one. The aftermath of the struggle that is so poignantly and unflinchingly recorded forms a large part of the story of Joyce's masterwork, Ulysses, in which Stephen reappears as a main character.

In A Portrait of the Artist, Joyce renounces an episodic framework in favor of a group ...

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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Overview

James Joyce's first and most widely read novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the story of Stephen Dedalus, a young man struggling to decide between a religious vocation and an artistic one. The aftermath of the struggle that is so poignantly and unflinchingly recorded forms a large part of the story of Joyce's masterwork, Ulysses, in which Stephen reappears as a main character.

In A Portrait of the Artist, Joyce renounces an episodic framework in favor of a group of scenes which radiate backward and forward. As such, the book more closely resembles a random series of portraits than a chronological narrative. Using his own childhood and adolescence as the basic theme of the story, Joyce attempts to recreate the past by embracing it.

Don Gifford, a renowned Joyce scholar, has contributed an introduction focusing on the social, political, and cultural climate of turn-of-the-century Ireland, offering a deeper understanding of the work.

Author Biography:
James Joyce was born in Rathgar, a suburb of Dublin in 1882. He attended Belvedere College, a Jesuit school, from 1893 to 1898 and graduated from University College, Dublin in 1902. Freeing himself from the strictures of religion, family, and his homeland, Joyce fled Ireland in 1904 accompanied by Nora Barnacle, a young Galway woman he'd met earlier that year. They lived in such European cities as Pola, Trieste, and Rome, together with their two children, Giorgio and Lucia, while Joyce supported them by teaching English and taking clerical jobs. Drawing on his experiences and childhood in Ireland, Joyce published Dubliners in 1914, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in 1916. The family settled in Zurich in 1915, and relocated to Paris in 1920. There, Joyce continued his fascination with dissolving the boundaries between life and literature in his masterwork, Ulysses, published in 1922 on his fortieth birthday. In 1923, Joyce began to compose his "Work in Progress." Seventeen years in the making, the book was published as Finnegans Wake in 1939. Joyce died in Zurich in 1941.

Joyce's semi-autobiographical chronicle of Stephen Dedalus' passage from university student to "independent" artist is at once a richly detailed, amusing, and moving coming-of-age story, a tour de force of style and technique, and a profound examination of the Irish psyche and society.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is in fact the gestation of a soul.” –Richard Ellmann

“One believes in Stephen Dedalus as one believes in few characters in fiction.” –H. G. Wells

“[Mr. Joyce is] concerned at all costs to reveal the flickerings of that innermost flame which flashes its myriad message through the brain, he disregards with complete courage whatever seems to him adventitious, though it be probability or coherence or any other of the handrails to which we cling for support when we set our imaginations free.” –Virginia Woolf

“[A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man will] remain a permanent part of English literature.” –Ezra Pound

With an Introduction by Richard Brown

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451011503
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/1960
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

James Joyce

James Joyce, the twentieth century’s most influential novelist, was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882. The oldest of ten children, he grew up in a family that went from prosperity to penury because of his father’s wastrel behavior. After receiving a rigorous Jesuit education, twenty-year-old Joyce renounced his Catholicism and left Dublin in 1902 to spend most of his life as a writer in exile in Paris, Trieste, Rome, and Zurich. On one trip back to Ireland, he fell in love with the now famous Nora Barnacle on June 16, the day he later chose as “Bloomsday” in his novel Ulysses. Nara was an uneducated Galway girl who became his lifelong companion an the mother of his two children. In debt and drinking heavily, Joyce lived for thirty-six years on the Continent, supporting himself first by teaching jobs, then trough the patronage of Mrs. Harold McCormick (Edith Rockerfeller) and the English feminist and editor Harriet Shaw Weaver. His writings include Chamber music (1907), Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Exiles (1918), Ulysses (1922), Poems Penyeach (1927), Finnegans Wake (1939), and an early draft of A Portrait of a Young Man, Stephan Hero (1944). Ulysses required seven years to complete, and his masterpiece, Finnegans Wake, took seventeen. Both works revolutionized the form, structure, and content of the novel. Joyce died in Zurich in 1941.

Biography

James Joyce was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882. He was the oldest of ten children in a family which, after brief prosperity, collapsed into poverty. Nonetheless, he was educated at the best Jesuit schools and then at University College, Dublin, where he gave proof of his extraordinary talent.

In 1902, following his graduation, he went to Paris, thinking he might attend medical school there, but he soon gave up attending lectures and devoted himself to writing poems and prose sketches, and formulating an "aesthetic system'." Recalled to Dublin in April 1903 because of the fatal illness of his mother, he circled slowly towards his literary career. During the summer of 1904 he met a young woman from Galway, Nora Barnacle, and persuaded her to go with him to the Continent, where he planned to teach English.The young couple spent a few months in Pola (now in Yugoslavia), then in 1905 moved to Trieste, where, except for seven months in Rome and three trips to Dublin, they lived until June 1915. They had two children, a son and a daughter. His first book, the poems of Chamber Music, was published in London in 1907, and Dubliners, a book of stories, in 1914. Italy's entrance into the First World War obliged Joyce to move to Zürich, where he remained until 1919. During this period he published A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Exiles, a play (1918).

After a brief return to Trieste following the armistice, Joyce determined to move to Paris so as to arrange more easily for the publication of Ulysses, a book which he had been working on since 1914. It was, in fact, published on his birthday in Paris, in 1922, and brought him international fame. The same year he began work on Finnegan's Wake, and though much harassed by eye troubles, and deeply affected by his daughter's mental illness, he completed and published that book in 1939. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he went to live in Unoccupied France, then managed to secure permission in December 1940 to return to Zürich. Joyce died there six weeks later, on 13 January 1941, and was buried in the Fluntern Cemetery.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 2, 1882
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      January 13, 1941
    2. Place of Death:
      Zurich, Switzerland
    1. Education:
      B.A., University College, Dublin, 1902
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

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. . . .

His father told him that story: His father looked at him through a glass. He had a hairy face.

He was baby tuckoo. The moocow came down the road where Betty Byrne lived: She sold lemon platt.


O, the wild rose blossoms
On the little green place.


He sang that song. That was his song.


O, the green wothe botheth.


When you wet the bed, first it is warm then it gets cold. His mother put on the oilsheet. That had the queer smell.

His mother had a nicer smell than his father. She played on the piano the sailor&rsquos hornpipe for him to dance. He danced:


Tralala lala,
Tralala tralaladdy,
Tralala lala,
Tralala lala.


Uncle Charles and Dante clapped. They were older than his father and mother but Uncle Charles was older than Dante.

Dante had two brushes in her press. The brush with the maroon velvet back was for Michael Davitt and the brush with the green velvet back was for Parnell. Dante gave him a cachou every time he brought her a piece of tissue paper.

The Vances lived in number seven. They had a different father and mother. They were Eileen's father and mother. When they were grown up he was going to marry Eileen. He hid under the table. His mother said:

--O, Stephen will apologize.

Dante said:

--O, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes.--


Pull out his eyes,
Apologize,
Apologize,
Pull out his eyes.

Apologize,
Pull out his eyes,
Pull out his eyes,
Apologize.


The wide playgrounds were swarming with boys. All were shouting and the prefects urged them on with strong cries. The evening air was pale and chilly and after every charge and thud of the foot-ballers the greasy leather orb flew like a heavy bird through the gray light. He kept on the fringe of his line, out of sight of his prefect, out of the reach of the rude feet, feigning to run now and then. He felt his body small and weak amid the throng of players and his eyes were weak and watery. Rody Kickham was not like that: He would be captain of the third line all the fellows said.

Rody Kickham was a decent fellow but Nasty Roche was a stink. Rody Kickham had greaves in his number and a hamper in the refectory. Nasty Roche had big hands. He called the Friday pudding dog-in-the-blanket. And one day he had asked:

--What is your name?

Stephen had answered: Stephen Dedalus.

Then Nasty Roche had said:

--What kind of a name is that?

And when Stephen had not been able to answer Nasty Roche had asked:

--What is your father?

Stephen had answered:

--A gentleman.

Then Nasty Roche had asked:

--Is he a magistrate?

He crept about from point to point on the fringe of his line, making little runs now and then. But his hands were bluish with cold. He kept his hands in the side pockets of his belted gray suit. That was a belt round his pocket. And belt was also to give a fellow a belt. One day a fellow had said to Cantwell:

--I'd give you such a belt in a second.

Cantwell had answered:

--Go and fight your match. Give Cecil Thunder a belt. I'd like to see you. He'd give you a toe in the rump for yourself.

That was not a nice expression. His mother had told him not to speak with the rough boys in the college. Nice mother! The first day in the hall of the castle when she had said good-bye she had put up her veil double to her nose to kiss him, and her nose and eyes were red. But he had pretended not to see that she was going to cry. She was a nice mother but she was not so nice when she cried. And his father had given him two five-shilling pieces for pocket money. And his father had told him if he wanted anything to write home to him and, whatever he did, never to peach on a fellow. Then at the door of the castle the rector had shaken hands with his father and mother, his soutane fluttering in the breeze, and the car had driven off with his father and mother on it. They had cried to him from the car, waving their hands:

--Good-bye, Stephen, good-bye!

--Good-bye, Stephen, good-bye!

He was caught in the whirl of a scrimmage and, fearful of the flashing eyes and muddy boots, bent down to look through the legs. The fellows were struggling and groaning and their legs were rubbing and kicking and stamping. Then Jack Lawton&rsquos yellow boots dodged out the ball and all the other boots and legs ran after. He ran after them a little way and then stopped. It was useless to run on. Soon they would be going home for the holidays. After supper in the study hall he would change the number pasted up inside his desk from seventy-seven to seventy-six.

It would be better to be in the study hall than out there in the cold. The sky was pale and cold but there were lights in the castle. He wondered from which window Hamilton Rowan had thrown his hat on the haha and had there been flowerbeds at that time under the windows. One day when he had been called to the castle the butler had shown him the marks of the soldiers&rsquo slugs in the wood of the door and had given him a piece of shortbread that the community ate. It was nice and warm to see the lights in the castle. It was like something in a book. Perhaps Leicester Abbey was like that. And there were nice sentences in Doctor Cornwell&rsquos Spelling Book. They were like poetry but they were only sentences to learn the spelling from.


Wolsey died in Leicester Abbey
Where the abbots buried him.
Canker is a disease of plants,
Cancer one of animals.


It would be nice to lie on the hearthrug before the fire, leaning his head upon his hands, and think on those sentences. He shivered as if he had cold slimy water next his skin. That was mean of Wells to shoulder him into the square ditch because he would not swop his little snuffbox for Wells-s seasoned hacking chestnut, the conqueror of forty. How cold and slimy the water had been! A fellow had once seen a big rat jump into the scum. Mother was sitting at the fire with Dante waiting for Brigid to bring in the tea. She had her feet on the fender and her jewelly slippers were so hot and they had such a lovely warm smell! Dante knew a lot of things. She had taught him where the Mozambique Channel was and what was the longest river in America and what was the name of the highest mountain in the moon. Father Arnall knew more than Dante because he was a priest but both his father and Uncle Charles said that Dante was a clever woman and a well-read woman. And when Dante made that noise after dinner and then put up her hand to her mouth, that was heartburn.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Bibliography

Chronology

Publication history/Note on the text

Explanatory notes

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Confused by errors

    It's hard enough to read to begin with; this version has a lot of typographical errors that make it that much more difficult.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Find another version

    This one has too many strange, miscellaneious typographical characters, making it difficult to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 27, 2012

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    OOOOOOOOOOOH IM HAVING A WILD PARTY THIS SAT COME PLEASE!!!!!!

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Takes a while

    Took me a couple reads and some research to understand, but it was well worth it.

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

    Posted February 8, 2002

    Not to be taken lightly

    This book is truly excellent if you are willing to take the time and study it. It is not a book written for simple perusing, and attempts to just read it as a story tend to be discouraging. I must disagree with another reviewer, as I read the book as part of a study on stream of consciousness writing. I highly recommend it. Another interesting perspective is the mazes that the main character gradually emerges from (religion, family, patriotism, etc). Although autobiographical, the book is much more than a tale of one man's life. It took me a short time to get into the book, so don't be turned off right away.

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

    Posted December 17, 2001

    Beautiful

    This is absolutely the most beautiful and stunning book I've ever read. If you have any tendency towards the arts in you; if you have a love of words and writing in you; or if you have enough sensitivity to empathize with the artist read this book. Take your time with it and you won't be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2001

    Prime example of growing-up story, clearly identifiable character

    James Joyce's first novel still remains one of the truly greatest of novels,-it is rare in fiction to so strongly believe in a character,-and to also feel for a place,- The monologue about Hell is one of Joyce's best bursts of beautiful poetic prose,- One might want to read the Joyce books in order which they were written,-Starting with the 'Dubliners' and ending with 'The wake',-one thing that is forgotten is what great fun these books are,-equal in entertainment as they are in artistic value,-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2000

    Joyce's Best Work!

    Perhaps it is because this book is partly self-narrative that makes it so easy to relate to. Stephen Dedalus is the epitomy of what can happen to us when we deny our true desires, and then, through an epiphony of sorts, recognize our calling. James Joyce is well-known for his difficult literature, and this book is no exception, but those of us who are able to make it through the first chapter are able to experience a masterful piece of classic literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2000

    not stream of consciousness

    just wanted to clarify that this book does not employ the stream of consciousness narrative. this is a common misconception. it would be worthwhile to note however, the manner in which joyce is experimenting with his style which will graduate into SoC in ulysses.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2000

    The young man

    This is perhaps one of the most understandable of James Joyce's books. Forget Ulysses , this is the book for anybody who wants to experience the stream of consciousness technique.It is not long and gives a good account of the surroundings Joyce himself grew up in. It is true to the title in that it does give a portrait of an artist as a young man. I cannot say anymore than this and usually I say more than this!

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    Posted March 15, 2010

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    Posted March 19, 2010

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