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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 1992

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reissue edition (Jan. 1 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553214047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553214048
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.3 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,139,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. A. I. on March 8 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
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 idiosyncratic punctuation, etc.

Portrait is at times sublime in its evocations of The Artist's thoughts and perceptions. Highly recommended on its own, and as an intoduction to one of Joyce's main characters in his magnum opus Ulysses.
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Format: Paperback
I know this is considered a modern classic, and in many eyes, I am sure it is. Perhaps I just missed it, perhaps I didn't. But I must say that this was one of the most brutally depressing, and oftentimes hard to follow books I have ever read. I found the main character of Stephen Dedalus to at first be one I felt great sympathy for, but his rejection of his faith I found to lead only to a spiritual shrug on his part. He portrays himself so egotistically as some kind of genius artist, and yet I am still uncertain what his art really consists of other than his rejection of his faith and his forming his own spirituality/philosophy.
The book itself is exceedingly difficult to read, as the format he writes is very spontaneous and loaded with new names every few sentences of new characters, of whom the reader has no idea who they are. Chapter II was by far the best chapter, very Augustinian in its approach to sin and redemption. However, Chapter III I really could have done without - an extended, detailed and terrifying meditation on the sufferings of the damned in Hell, it has everything in it that one often associates with the stereotypical notion of "Catholic guilt". Half of the time, I was uncertain as to what was even going on with Stephen beyond that point.
Truly, this novel has moments of pure genius, and there were times where I was in love with its pages. However, at the end of it, I was left with little more than a sour taste in my mouth. A dark, murky, unclear and at times, horrifying read. A knowledge of pre-Vatican II Catholicism will definitely aid the reader in understanding at least the first three chapters.
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Format: Paperback
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. "Portrait" is much more user-friendly and easy to read. This novel is one of the greatest works in the English language. It is not only beautifully written but it can carry a different meaning for people at different stages of their life. Young high school students will find some themes very interesting while a man of 40 can draw new pleasure from reading it a second time. For those interested in Joyce's work, this is a good place to start, for it is easier than his other novels. This is not to say that it is an overly easy book to understand. Anyone who has read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner knows that the stream of conscienceness style of writing can at times stifle reading comprehension but for the most part give a unique, exciting view of a character. Overall, though, this is an excellent novel and worthy of anyone's effort. As I said, this is a good place to start if you're looking for a Joyce induction. Would also recommend the novels "O Pioneers!" by Willa Cather and the Vonnegut book titled "Cat's Cradle"--these are something different as I don't like reading the same thing over na over.
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By Brandon Annette on 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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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 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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