A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

by James Joyce

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Perhaps Joyce's most personal work, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man depicts the intellectual awakening of one of literature's most memorable young heroes, Stephen Dedalus. Through a series of brilliant epiphanies that parallel the development of his own aesthetic consciousness, Joyce evokes Stephen's youth, from his impressionable years as the youngest student at the Clongowed Wood school to the deep religious conflict he experiences at a day school in Dublin, and finally to his college studies where he challenges the conventions of his upbringing and his understanding of faith and intellectual freedom. James Joyce's highly autobiographical novel was first published in the United States to immediate acclaim. Ezra Pound accurately predicted that Joyce's book would "remain a permanent part of English literature," while H.G. Wells dubbed it "by far the most important living and convincing picture that exists of an Irish Catholic upbringing." A remarkably rich study of a developing young mind, this work made an indelible mark on literature and confirmed Joyce's reputation as one of the world's greatest and lasting writers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783736801745
Publisher: BookRix
Publication date: 06/15/2019
Sold by: Bookwire
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 341
Sales rank: 731,429
File size: 999 KB

About the Author

James Joyce (1882–1941) was an Irish poet, novelist, and short story author and one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. His best-known works include Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artistas a Young Man, Finnegans Wake, and Ulysses, which is widely considered to be the greatest novel in the English language.
James Joyce (1882–1941) was an Irish poet, novelist, and short story author and one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. His best-known works include Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artistas a Young Man, Finnegans Wake, and Ulysses, which is widely considered to be the greatest novel in the English language. 

Date of Birth:

February 2, 1882

Date of Death:

January 13, 1941

Place of Birth:

Dublin, Ireland

Place of Death:

Zurich, Switzerland


B.A., University College, Dublin, 1902

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Chapter One

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Illustrated + FREE audiobook link + Active TOC) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
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.
Kayla-Marie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I started this book in June and just finished it. I was really hoping to love this book. I don't know why, but ever since middle school I believed that James Joyce would become one of my all time favorite authors. I felt an unexplainable pull towards him, but I decided to wait until I was in college to read him because I heard that he was difficult. Boy, is he ever! I enjoyed a few of the passages in this book, particularly the priest's sermon on Hell (which will haunt me until my dying day) and Stephen's monologue on beauty and aesthetics. So much of the novel just went straight over my head, though. The interaction between the boys completely eluded me. At times, Cranly came off as bipolar to me. I couldn't understand their extreme reactions to things and how they would pick a fight over nothing (Cranly being the worst of all of them about this), but I guess that's how boys are? I also didn't like how they would always use Latin in their everyday conversation. It made them seem very pretentious. Perhaps that was the point of it. I have to take some blame for not enjoying this book that much. I turned my reading of it into work rather than pleasure. Since I didn't have an annotated copy, I had to look up all the Irish slang and Latin phrases. I made sure that I always had a pen and highlighter with me, and for the first half of the book I always had to have my laptop available too until I decided to print out the glossary I was constantly referring to.I put so much effort into it because I knew that I would reread it one day, and I wanted to make sure that I would be able to focus on the story rather than the academics of it. I'm a bit too turned off from it right now to begin rereading it right away, but maybe after a few months I can prepare myself to pick it up again. And hopefully I'll enjoy it much more.
realbigcat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have a mixed review on this classic. There is no use telling the story as there are plenty of reviews here. I had not read Joyce before but I thought this would be a good start. I admit it's difficult reading for any novice but Joyce's flow, structure and pure beautiful use of the English language is outstanding. It's probbaly best read in chunks. My favorite part was the description of Hell. If that does not get you thinking nothing will. Not my favorite book but if your thinking about reading Joyce it's a good start.
jddunn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perhaps the ultimate tale of growing up as a gifted, sensitive, hyperaware young person, dealing with feeling like an outsider as a result of such circumstances, and eventually embracing ones gifts and deciding to rely upon them, despite the slings and arrows. Much more readable than Ulysses or Finnegan¿ transcendent in some parts, delightfuly cheeky and irreverent in others, and always painfully innocent and sincere just below the surface. Packed with awe and wonder and a feeling of gathering mastery and self-discovery.
poetontheone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Joyce's Portrait is a Kunstlerroman (a novel depicting the maturation of the artist), comparable in some basic ways to Hesse's Demian, released a few years later. We see Stephen Dedalus rise from the mysterious ether of childhood into worldliness, soon caught up in a crisis of Soul, and one of a particularly Catholic nature. His transformation into "the artist", really, is a late point in the work, though its brewing all the while before, a more subtle and altogether more implicitly tense period of development than of Hesse's Demian Sinclair. Joyce though, with good humor, does not leave all at this. He is not only tracing the profound development of the artist, but holding up a mirror of mockery to this development, accentuating maudlin emotion, pedantry, and conceit. Both aims work well most of the time, The latter when the text oozes absurdities. Latin as the preferred tongue of schoolyard talk, the college dean's ignorance of metaphor, the long and detailed hellfire sermon. Stephen's reactions to all of these. The whole last section, at the university, illustrates well his conceit and pedantry, though it is in part sincere and true, maybe to a fault insofar as it is not wholly effective. All that is sincere in this work about the artist is best conveyed, as it usually is, in moments of profound revelation. Joyce, a real craftsmen of language, executes these moments beautifully. The language makes the story, literally. Joyce's use of voice and language evolves along with the character. The concise sentences of the child and his internal, often confused, thought processes. The rambling explication and wisecracking of the adult artist, at the other end. Stephen Dedalus, transcends the bounds of country, religion, and language in his quest. Joyce, just as well, excavates what lays within those bounds of identity through all three components, especially the last.This book is a ripe peach. Bloated in the best ways and often sweetly rewarding, though it does have its hard and sour moments. No doubt I am stuck on Hesse's dark and pungent berries of Jungian transcendence. If I had come to this work first, I might have put it on a pedestal above all others, or given up on it, or worst of all, thought myself a prick. We are all Stephen Dedalus, us mad artificers.
Smiler69 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I know it¿s a great classic, which is why I read it. But can I just say that I could barely understand what was going on through the whole book without sounding like a complete idiot? I had been planning on reading Ulysses but maybe not.
Porius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
et ignotas animum dimittit in artesOvid, metamorphoses, viii, 18
figre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the great shames of my life is that I gave up on Ulysses after only 30 pages. I am the kind who finishes a book ¿ no matter what. But somehow I couldn¿t do it ¿ I just couldn¿t build up the gumption to read through Ulysses.With the promise to myself that, someday, I would dive in and attack Ulysses again, I decided I would take a shorter route to approaching Joyce. Accordingly, I picked up this book. When I started, I was afraid I was in for disappointment again. The ¿moocow¿ and ¿tuckoo¿ and songs that smack the reader at the start of this book are not conducive to ¿Maybe I¿ll just pick this up and read it on the plane.¿ (Of course, no one approaching Joyce should think that ¿ I just use it as an example.) But, in relatively short order, the sequence of events and story that was emerging began to make sense and the tale began to draw me in. This story is in parts interesting (primarily in the telling of tales) and in parts boring (primarily in giving us far too much theory and philosophy of why the people are who they are) and, as a whole, a decent look at Stephen Daedalus¿ growing up.With all that being said, what makes this so great a book and Joyce so great a writer? I cannot tell you. I found it an interesting book, well-written, but with nothing to make me think it is a classic. After completing the book I read the introduction (I learned the mistake of introductions and spoilers in other books) in order to gain new insights. I only made it so far. It was dense academese that, had I indeed read first, would have driven me away from ever trying to read this book. So, I will just have to go on without understanding why this book should be considered more than good, indeed great. However, it is good and, as with any good or great book, there will be images that stay with me. And now I am encouraged to return to Ulysses and try again. (I¿m just going to guess it will still be a couple of years.)
Pummzie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this as a precursor to attacking Ulysses and was not sure what to expect. It was not a difficult read but it does demand your attention -it certainly wasn't the book I picked up when I was tired. It follows the development of a young Irish boy, Stephen (closely modelled on Joyce's own life) to adulthood.What I loved about it was Joyce's grasp of language, his use of his erudition and the sheer daring of some of its passages in dealing with its subject matter- particularly with respect to Catholicism and the political and religious tussles in Ireland at that time as well as the temptations that both test young Stephen and inform his choices.Each of the five chapters follows its own arc and I found that I felt quite differently about each of them. As Stephen ages, the complexity of the langauge and ideas evolve with him and by the final chapter, having been to hell and back, I was completely convinced by the mental development of Stephen and his mastery over his own conscience. If you are interested in originality, style and economy of words to convey a plethora of connections and ideas, then don't let it languish on the shelf any longer!
SaraPrindiville on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very thoughtful about religion and Irish politics. I'm not really sure what I got out of it. the part about hell was kind of disturbing and far too long. the end seemed unconnected from the beginning (because it was written at a different time) I liked the part about boarding school the best. (the beginning)
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My reactions to this novel were very mixed. The book is not a conventional novel, and this was Joyce's intention, as you can glean from his conversation about aesthetics in the last chapter. A strange blend of semi-autobiographical material and fiction, with a voice that mimics the age and maturity of the main character, Stephen, and thus changes as he changes. I got the impression that Joyce was writing himself into a story that was a bit different from his true story, in an attempt to reinvent himself through words. Indeed, Stephen dwells on the power of words extensively throughout the novel. Is the book well written? Yes. Does it follow standard forms of plot and character development? No. Does it complete its own mission of becoming something new and original, breaking away from tradition? Yes. Did it always hold my attention? No.I enjoyed the first chapter, which chronicles Stephen at his youngest age in the book, and is told with a childish perspective, straight forward and yet often fragmentary. I've read that some people have a hard time understanding this section, but I found it easy to interpret, maybe because of the copious notes in my Penguin edition. Chapter 2 waned in interest for me, and yet I was engrossed by Chapter 3 (the infamous hell chapter, which turns many people off), although I wouldn't say that I enjoyed it. It was just very interesting. Then I found Chapter 4 mediocre but with a fantastic ending, and I had to slog my way through most of Chapter 5, which consists of long philosophic debates. In the end, this is one of those books that I am glad I read because it is masterfully written, and because it rightly occupies an honored position in western literature for its innovation. Also, I hope to read [Ulysses] soon, and this book is its precursor, of sorts. Some of the passages were simply stellar in the imagery and metaphor. The end of Chapter 4, where Stephen experiences his own 'rebirth', was beautiful. This is also one of those books, though, that took a bit of work to finish, and was not always an enjoyable read. I can appreciate Joyce's skill without agreeing to his life philosophy. In fact, I'm sure that he would despise mine. Stephen is a judgmental young man. (In one section, after he has abandoned his Catholic faith, a friend asks him if he will become a Protestant. His response? "I may have abandoned my faith, but not my self respect." Heh. Thanks for that, Joyce.) I feel accomplished having finished it, but don't plan on a reread.
dreamingtereza on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Impossibly good (as is all Joyce). For weeks after finishing this one, I wished that I were an Irish Catholic schoolboy, and I threw myself into a fit of reading Byron.
Trotsky731 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good. Not Great. This being the only Joyce book that I have read so far, I can see how many academics see him as one of the greatest writers ever. However I can't see what their love affair with this book is. I think it was a well-written book but nothing jumped out at me that said that this book is one of the all time top five, as it is constantly rated. It is just a story of a young boy in Ireland who becomes a man but it doesn't come across as some work of brilliance. Again it is good not great. A great storyteller with a not so great story.
charlie68 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I hesitate to give this book or any book perfect marks, although this book comes close. Superbly written with deep philosophical and religious underpinnings, this book approaches the realm of the sublime. Does perfection exist in book form? I usually think of Dickens or Dostoyevsky, but this book comes close.
fuzzy_patters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Joyce uses beautifully poetic language, and his portrayal of Catholic guilt was magnificent. However, the frequent jumps between the present and the thoughts in Dedalus's head made this a frustrating read.
samantha464 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another one of those I tried to read in High School and just couldn't finish. When I sat down as a grown-up and rea it, I cursed myself for waiting so long. Beautiful, captivating, and a great introduction to Joyce, who's not exactly an easy read overall. He's worth it though.
bastet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the only Joyce book I've ever been able to get through. I loved it though. I thought it would prime me for Ulysses, but I've never been able to handle that book.This was marvelous. Magical even.
alhagler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it. I feel disappointed that I found myself relating to Stephen: I think Stephen is kind of an asshole. Then again, I am kind of an asshole. Most young people are. "Smithy of my soul..." = beautifulLovely reverberations. I'd love to write a book with a centrifuge, wakes and reverberations like a finger to a puddle.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is as far as my Joyce adventure will go, I think. I've looked at "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake", and I doubt I will make it any further. "A Portrait..." was interesting, if not exactly world-changing; perhaps I approached it in the wrong frame of mind, and wasn't open to the possibilities it suggests and has suggested in others.
mind_wanderer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read one other book by James Joyce and was prepared for the dense language that is the first hurdle in reading his work. But aside from having to reread lines and paragraphs, or even pages at a time I thoroughly enjoyed this book.It is the life of a young Irish man named Stephen Dedalus, growing up from childhood to adulthood, and encountering everything his life was set up to be. It is the story of his struggle to accept religion, and his path to what he will one day become. The story shines the light on this young inquisitive mind, and the processes the mind takes from being a boy to being a man. You encounter the turbulence it goes through via religion, love, lust, friendship, and passion; and how the mind is ever changing on the quest of life and purpose.
anabellebf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this in preparation for a Joyce class I will start next week, focusing on Ulysses. I am very glad I did, because this book has inventive style, a gripping storyline and a representation of social issues not unlike Quebec's in the 50's and 60's - and is a good introduction to the kind of experiments Joyce makes in Ulysses.The development of an artistic mind striving for freedom is fascinating when put in Joyce's lyricism and grand eloquence. I was scared by Joyce at first but now I feel more confident than ever that I can enjoy and appreciate his work.
DarkWater on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beginning biographically, the novel orbits a young Stephen Daedalus, born to one Simon Daedalus, baptized in Christ, and a son of Ireland no less. Stephen is not only a one-time product of these institutions, but finds himself constantly immersed in the imperialist miasma of their expectations and responsibilities. As he comes of age and begins to ponder his identity, he precociously questions the dramatic effects that these parental, political, religious, sexual, and literary internalizations have had on its (his) construction. As he finds his own voice (non serviam), the form of the book changes with it and the once narrated Stephen becomes the narrator Stephen.¿The soul has a slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of the body. When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.¿Stephen¿s transcendence comes in the form of a psychological revolution, a mutilation of the old self and a willful, deliberate creation of the new. Asserting that man is (or at least can be) his own creation, he struggles to create his own father, supplanting his biological father (and other fathers) for a spiritual father of his own formation - what can be read as a miraculous self-begetting.For Ireland, Stephen¿s story holds the key to spiritual freedom. With their victimization and oppression a national legacy, the Irish identity became strongly conflated with their role as victims. It became their destiny to be slaves, a people grown to love their enslavement and to fear freedom and its responsibilities, a people whose tradition had unconsciously become oppressing themselves.In Ulysses, Joyce later wrote, ¿History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.¿ In contrast to most schools of thought which presume that the wisdom needed today can be found in the past, Joyce confronts the dangers that come with its blind inheritance and concession to the conventional life that it creates and encourages.
twomoredays on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading James Joyce is a curious experiment.Although this is the second time in two years I have worked my way through the labyrinth of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and even though both of those times I read the book for class, I still find myself missing things. Someone will bring something up and my reaction is, "What? When did that happen?"Perhaps, it's all a part of Joyce's evil plan to trap us all into eternally reading his books. The thing is, the first time I read Portrait, I hated it. I hated stream-of-conciousness and I hated Joyce's pompousness and Irishness.However, this time in reading it, I felt like the book hated me. Joyce's style makes it feel like I'm being kept in the dark on an inside joke. The language is so dense that I can barely get a sense of what's going on. But, still, I think I liked the book.Or, maybe, I would like the book if it would just let me in on its secret.