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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Paperback – Mar 25 2003

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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (March 25 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437346
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.7 x 19.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #237,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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

About the Author

James Joyce (1882-1941) was born in Dublin, the oldest of ten children in a family that struggled with poverty. His works include Finnegans Wake, Dubliners, and the modern epic Ulysses.

Seamus Deane, novelist and professor of modern English and American literature at University College, Dublin, has been a Fulbright Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and a visiting professor at several American universities.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
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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By Chad on Jan. 29 2004
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By Jenny Ng on Dec 14 2003
Format: Paperback
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce is an autobiography novel about a Catholic boy named Stephen Dedalus going to college and his life. Stephen Dedalus goes to Clongowes Wood College in Ireland. At school, Wells is a bully who makes fun of Stephen and pushes him into a pool, so he got sick. Charles Parnell died in the novel. Father Dolan punishes Stephen by hitting his hand with a patty bat for making an excuse that he lost his glasses on purpose. Stephen was brave enough to complain to the rector saying that he shouldn't have been punished by Father Dolan. The rector said he would talk to Father Dolan and fix this situation. Stephen's classmates carried him up because he told the rector what happened and everyone thinks he's a hero.

One summer in Blackrock, Dublin, Stephen spends time with Uncle Charles and his father and they told him stories about their family history. Stephen's family has financial problems, so they moved to Dublin and Stephen transferred to Belvedere College. He begins to act in the play and plays the part of being a teacher. He receives a money award and treats his family to a nice dinner. He brought gifts to please his family and try to accept his family. Stephen has a crush on Emma by he never expresses his feelings toward her. Stephen expresses his feelings in a poem to Emma. He has his first sexual experience with a prostitute and then he feels sinful. He feels sinful that he couldn't confess to a priest about his sinful thoughts. He got accepted to the university and he feels happy because he made new friends and he felt free. Stephen confesses his sins to his friend Cranly and Cranly wants Stephen to interact more with his family about his problems. At the end, Stephen writes in his journal about his life.
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