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A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man
by James Joyce
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A masterpiece of subjectivity, a fictionalized memoir, a coming-of-age prose-poem, this brilliant novella introduces Joyce's alter ego, Stephen Daedelus, the hero of Ulysses, and begins the narrative experimentation that would help change the concept of literary narrative forever. It describes Stephen's formative years in Dublin; as Stephen matures, so does the writing, until it sparkles with clarity. The style presents numerous, almost insurmountable, problems for the oral interpreter, particularly one with the limited vocal range of John Lynch. But Lynch pays no attention to the problems. Instead, he identifies so completely with Daedelus, throws himself so lustily into the book, that it is as if the passionate young artist himself is bursting out of your speakers. Y.R. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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.
Published in 1916 to immediate acclaim, James Joyce's semi-autobiographical tale of his alterego, Stephen Dedalus, is a coming-of-age story like no other. A bold, innovative experiment with both language and structure, the work has exerted a lasting influence on the contemporary novel.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Autobiographical novel by James Joyce, published serially in The Egoist in 1914-15 and in book form in 1916; considered by many the greatest bildungsroman in the English language. The novel portrays the early years of Stephen Dedalus, who later reappeared as one of the main characters in Joyce's Ulysses (1922). Each of the novel's five sections is written in a third-person voice that reflects the age and emotional state of its protagonist, from the first childhood memories written in simple, childlike language to Stephen's final decision to leave Dublin for Paris to devote his life to art, written in abstruse, Latin-sprinkled, stream-of-consciousness prose. The novel's rich, symbolic language and brilliant use of stream-of-consciousness foreshadowed Joyce's later work. The work is a drastic revision of an earlier version entitled Stephen Hero and is the second part of Joyce's cycle of works chronicling the spiritual history of humans from Adam's Fall through the Redemption. The cycle began with the short-story collection Dubliners (1914) and continued with Ulysses and Finnegans Wake (1939).
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.
From the Inside Flap
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.
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