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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man [Paperback]

James Joyce , Seamus Deane
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 25 2003 Penguin Classics

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.

Frequently Bought Together

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man + Ulysses + Dubliners
Price For All Three: CDN$ 23.46

  • Ulysses CDN$ 7.99
  • Dubliners CDN$ 3.32

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Product Details

Product Description


“Joyce’s work is not about the thing—it is the thing itself.”—Samuel Beckett

“Admirable.”—Jorge Luis Borges


“Joyce’s work is not about the thing—it is the thing itself.”—Samuel Beckett
“Admirable.”—Jorge Luis Borges
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

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 in 1916 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, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man made an indelible mark on literature and confirmed Joyce's reputation as one of the world's greatest and lasting writers. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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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 coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo. . . . Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful July 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sure its pretentious, frustrating, difficult, etc., but it is also such a rewarding read. Boring sections like chapter 3 with the church sermon set up excellent ones, such as the end of Chapter 4, with Stephen's epiphany, which I must say is the most beautiful, glorious thing I have ever read. the emotion and symbolism (such as Stephen Dedalus taking flight from society much like his Greek namesake Daedalus did from an island) is simply overwhelming. I had to read this for a college english class (as well as write an essay on it) but i still enjoyed it. the stream of conciousness style may be too difficult and odd for some but i found a nice break from other literature, which is more than i can say for the similar novel To the Lighthouse by Woolf (also extremely good stylistically, but much less interesting). brilliant, but not a good introduction to joyce for those still in high school or not used to reading challenging literature. I would recommend "The Dead" to try him out first.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I Love a Book with Controversy! Feb. 21 2004
This is one of those great pieces that really divides the audience. If you read fellow reviewers' comments, one says that no-one should rate this below 4 stars while another says no-one should rate it above 1 star. Some people admit they don't get it, some people say there is nothing to get, and some dive deep into Joyce's world. What a gift!
For my own thoughts...as I rate it, I think I need to rate it more as a piece of art rather than a typical piece of literature. When I review literature, I consider character development, plot development, narrator's voice, story-telling ability, etc. With Joyce, he shows you so much and tells you so little, that it's really hard to nail alot of facts down. How old is he in the beginning? How many siblings did he have? Did he have a crush on the same girl throughout the book? Why did Dante have 2 brushes? What exactly caused his father's fall? There is just so much information that Joyce doesn't bother telling you. It's like the opposite of watching "The Wonder Years" or "Scrubs" where you get a play-by-play account of the action and a foreshadowing of what was to come.
At first I was very unnerved by his approach. I like to have a groundwork laid, and I didn't even know how old Dedalus was when the book started (I had trouble translating the Irish school system to an equivalent year here). However, the world as seen through an intelligent but vulnerable and geeky boy was fascinating. I loved the vivid accounts as seen by a child with no attempt to correct or add to this perspective by some adult voice.
As the story progresses, Joyce skips through time, apparently selecting important scenes in his young life. But he doesn't tell you they are important.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I don't get it Jan. 29 2004
By Chad
I'm sorry but I don't get it. I realize that there is more going on in the book than I understood as I read it, but I don't want to take the time to find out what it was. This book had relatively few pages, but it took me an awfully long time to finish it, and I mean awful. The story is not very interesting. I've noticed that many reviewers are impressed with the form in which the story is expressed - and surely this is part of the reason why this book has endured - but I've always enjoyed substance over form, and the substance for me is the story. One can sometimes identify with the Dedalus, but in the end it's not enough; his story isn't very interesting. I'm sure that a more critical reading of the book would reveal more and make the book more enjoyable, but given the amount of time that one must invest just to read the book, and the small pleasure derived from that enterprise, one is discouraged from dedicating even more to more fully understand. Pass on this book unless you're really willing to delve into it or try some lighter fare . . . like Moby Dick.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Start of a journey... Jan. 20 2004
Every once in a while, when I happen to mention Joyce to one of my friends, I tend to get these kind of reactions: "booooring", "hard", "overpriced" "he's an idiot"
Well, every medal has two sides.
These oppinions are produced more often then not, with some kind of general recolection of thoughts that critics and publics gave to Joyce's "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake"... complexity, and intelectuallnes of the "mere" book often has that kind of impact on general public.
But, be not afraid (even though I know that You do not consider yourself as a "general public"). This book is something different.
Joyce is in his early stages of hi litterarie work, just starting to experiment with the chain of tought technique, and the result is absoultely brilliant... what we have received is the most beautiful and compelling autobiography, one has written in the entire history of litterature. In a voice of Stephen Dedalus (character around whom, together with Leonard Bloom, Ulysses is built) Joyce presents his early childhood thoughts, Joyce preensets development of character that refusses as the time progresses any kind of bonding with govermenet, education, church or any other kind of institution while at the same time building his own, inside universe where things happen at his command, and by his direction.
Language is sometimes hard, and you'll catch yourself re-reading some passages with tendencie of better grasping his message, his tought, but 3/4 of the work is written in the most beutiful english you can imagine...
I strongly reccomend this book...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pocket Size
Love what I've read so far, but potential buyer should be aware that it is a pocket-sized edition with small print.
Published 9 months ago by Benjamin R Heath
5.0 out of 5 stars Introducing … Stephen Dedalus
Great Kindle edition of Joyce's first great novel, which seems unabridged and has not been "improved" by half-witted editors that regularly insist on changing Joyce's... Read more
Published 18 months ago by J. A. I.
5.0 out of 5 stars "Paring his fingernails"
This story is about the emergence of identity. Stephen Dedalus's consciousness is front and centre in the book as Joyce weaves together important vignettes from his life that all... Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2012 by AP
2.0 out of 5 stars Wrong edition
I purchased this book by looking up the ISBN number. I really needed that edition for class to follow with the corresponding page numbers. Instead I got a different version. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2011 by Nanex
4.0 out of 5 stars Joyce leaves me confused by, but appreciative of, his brilliance
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man is irreducibly complex, layered with symbolism, and complicated by politics. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2009 by J. Pollock
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Anyone who doesn't like this book is full of malarky. If you think its pretentious, you're wrong. If you found it "unintelligible" you obviously gave up too easily. Read more
Published on Dec 9 2007 by Nice to Nietzsche-you!
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel by one of the greatest writers
If you're new to Joyce, this would the the book to start with. I definitely wouldn't start with Ulysses as that will put you off with its stream of consciousness. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2007 by Boid Tyson
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as difficult as everyone says
This book seems to have been written for style more then anything else, and at times it makes it difficult to read, this is true. Read more
Published on July 23 2004 by makaveli771
1.0 out of 5 stars Largely unintelligible.
Cut straight to the chase here: I tried really hard, I really did. But after a while I couldn't read more than a sentence without losing concentration, and then noticing half a... Read more
Published on July 2 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked by the first line...
The best first line every written in any novel. Read it and see. =)
Published on July 1 2004 by Zeeshan Hasan
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