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

3.8 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, Jan 1 1992
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (Jan. 1 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553214047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553214048
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.4 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,650,439 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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Top Customer Reviews

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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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 began this book with a sense of relief. Not only was the style
nothing like D.H. Lawrence's _The Rainbow_, which I had just had so much trouble with, but, as I had read _Ulysses_ (and Don Gifford's annotations to the same) over the summer, I felt that I had the necessary background to understand what could have been a very confusing narrative. For instance, when Parnell's name turned up, I instantly knew that this was the Irish politician who had nearly gotten a bill through the English parliament on Home Rule, only to then be disrailed by a scandal involving his long-time affair with a married woman. I also knew that the clergy had been somewhat hypocritical on the Parnell issue, waiting until he was declared guilty in court of adultery before coming out with their own condemnation, a fact that did not sit well with many Irish nationalists. Facts such as these, gleaned from my six weeks with Joyce's masterpiece, gave me a key to the background of the text.
But even more, what I liked about _Portrait_ was the, for Joyce, fairly clean style with which the story was told. I feared that _Portrait_ might reflect any one of the experimental styles in _Ulysses_, I was pleasantly surprised by the fairly linear (if occasionally vague with respect to time scale or particular period) storyline.
Things didn't stay simple for long, though. Chapter three and the extended sermon was tough to wade through, even if I did feel a personal connection to the crisis of faith experienced by Stephen. In the next three chapters, I was much more unsure of what exactly was taking place-the sentence structure was more complex and the descriptions less concrete.
I am somewhat confused by what actually happens at the end.
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Format: Paperback
James Joyce's first novel, "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, published in 1916, sets out, in the form of a fictional (auto)biography of Stephen Dedalus, the programme of Joyce's artistic vision. An elliptical work by any definition, "Portrait" proceeds by fits and starts, offering the reader glimpses, sketches, portraits, if you will, of defining moments in the formative years of Stephen Dedalus, from earliest childhood through his education at university. While certainly the specific story of a single individual in late 19th and early 20th century Ireland, Joyce manages to produce a narrative that is personal, national, and even universal in its significance.
As much as "Portrait" can be said to begin anywhere, the text itself begins with childhood reminiscences, from a uniquely immature voice and with the universally recognizable fairy tale entrance, "Once upon a time..." That the novel takes as its main point of view the consciousness of Stephen Dedalus, this seemingly fanciful beginning clues the reader into envisioning the tale to follow as a modern take on the developmental narrative. The goal is not the rescue of a woman, although women feature prominently and problematically; the enemies to be conquered are Stephen's own immaturity, his own doubts, and the stagnant traditions of family, political, and religious expectation; the prize sought is not gold, but an idea of the self upon which Stephen can make his way in the world.
"Portrait" is divided into five sections or chapters, each detailing a different phase of Stephen's quest for self, or as the title suggests, for becoming "the artist".
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