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

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

Jan. 1 1992 Bank Street Ready-To-Read
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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Review

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

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked by the first line... July 1 2004
Format:Paperback
The best first line every written in any novel. Read it and see. =)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introducing … Stephen Dedalus 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Paring his fingernails" Sept. 6 2012
By AP
Format:Paperback
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 contribute to his hero's artistic realization. Language, as always, is vital to Joyce's understanding of how humans develop.

For instance, the first segment of the book begins with a fantastic childhood story that showcases Stephen's diction and syntactical choices--without his awareness of this fact. I enjoyed the subtle things about this part. For instance: Stephen sees his father's glasses only as "glass that his father looked at him from behind." Also, Joyce starts out the book's tacit use of Dante by rendering the regional pronunciation of "Auntie" as "Dante." That's how Stephen hears it, and that's how we do too. Another great moment is when Stephen is at boarding school and hears the gas vents "singing." He's unaware of his artistic potential, but Joyce is pointing us in that direction already.

But Joyce is not here to help us read. Rather, he wants to show us the ins-and-outs of a young boy's mind. That's a difficulty I can't blame anyone for having with his writing in general. It's something you either have to accept, deny, or shred, and then you can decide whether to read him or not. However, even if you go through those steps, you're already doing something that Joyce wanted in the first place. He's tricky that way.

In my honest opinion, a lot of people will love or hate this book. It's got dark colours throughout, gets murky when Stephen feels bad, but shines when he's on the verge of realizing himself. Joyce is destabilizing form to parallel the ups and downs of a young man's social, intellectual, and religious maturation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pocket Size Nov. 26 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Love what I've read so far, but potential buyer should be aware that it is a pocket-sized edition with small print.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
How could James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man not receive a single rating of five in all of these reviews? I dare all of you to read the book again and find other words besides "dull," which it isn't, and "thick," by which you might have meant "layered," in order to describe this masterpiece I see as certainly on par with Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Wrong edition Oct. 20 2011
By Nanex
Format:Paperback
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. Also, I know "slightly used" is not perfect, but I didn't expect to pay for an old library book with everything still attached. The latter doesn't bother me as much though, it's just that it will be harder to follow in class.
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Format:Paperback
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man is irreducibly complex, layered with symbolism, and complicated by politics. Even as this work is often cited as Joyce's most accessible, the narrative structure is often baffling in sections. The footnote references which illuminate some (but by no means all!) of the allusions are an absolute necessity. While I admire Joyce immensely for his brilliance I did not find this book a 'pleasant read.' Nevertheless, I felt as though I 'should' read it even if, now having done so, I have not totally understood it. I would definitely recommend reading A Portrait.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel by one of the greatest writers Nov. 8 2007
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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