A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Now largely of interest as a way of understanding the mind and the developing writing style of James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a largely autobiographical novel tracing the author’s youth from his birth to his departure from Ireland. It was published in The Egoist 1914-5 in serial form but its first draft, Stephen Hero, was also published later in 1944. The central character is Stephen Dedalus (who also appears in Ulysses) and he narrates his own life in words and styles appropriate to each phase: as such the earliest stages are expresses in simplistic and fragmentary diction, while his university life is given complex and articulate form. This is its chief innovation, but otherwise it is notable for its wonderful evocation of a child blessed and cursed with intellect and a middle-class upbringing. We follow Joyce/Dedalus through his crisis of faith inspired by Father Arnall’s ‘hellfire’ sermon and various childhood difficulties such as bullying and into sexual and emotional development. In the background to this and central to the narrator’s concerns are the vulgar narrow-mindedness of both the Irish Catholic Church and nationalism, which was at its peak at the end of the nineteenth century when this novel is set. The book is best enjoyed as either a route towards the complexity of Ulysses from Dubliners or as a way of understanding Joyce’s psyche after experiencing Ulysses.

Table of contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

  By PanEris using Melati.

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