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A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man (Everyman's Library Classics) Hardcover – 26 Sep 1991


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman; New Ed edition (26 Sept. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857150090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857150094
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.5 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 409,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The eldest of ten children, James Joyce was born in Dublin on the 2nd of February 1882. Despite his family being impoverished by his father's failings as a business man, Joyce was educated at the best Jesuit schools and later in 1898 at University College Dublin. His first published work was a review on Ibsen's play When We Awaken in the Fortnightly Review in 1900. Upon graduating, Joyce moved to Paris in pursuit of a medical career. Before long, he gave up attending lectures and devoted himself to literature. He returned to Dublin as a result of the fatal illness of his mother and shortly afterwards, in 1904, Joyce met Nora Barnacle who was later to become his wife. The young couple travelled to the continent and in 1905 settled in Trieste where they were to remain until 1915. Joyce's first book Chamber Music was published in 1907 as a book of poetry and Dubliners followed in 1914.

The Joyces had two children; Giorgio, born 1905 and Lucia in 1907. Lucia was to develop a disturbing mental illness which greatly affected the family and would remain a prominent factor for the rest of Jocye's life. During the First World War Joyce moved to Zurich where he remained until 1919 when he moved to Paris to work on what is widely understood as his greatest and most prodigious work, Ulysses. After being worked on for eight years, Ulysses was published in Paris in 1922 on Joyces Birthday. It could be true to say that in Ulysses, Joyce attempts to 'know' everything and to add to this 'knowledge' by creating his own language. Joyce's highly experimental and revolutionary work positioned him firmly as one of the key figures of modernism.

As spoken to Georges Borach, one of Joyce's students in Zurich, Joyce comments that 'there are indeed hardly more than a dozen themes in world literature. Then there is an enormous number of combinations of these themes.' He goes on to denounce all the thinkers of the last 200 years and to position Aristotle as the 'greatest thinker of all time.' Such statements are testimony to Joyce's determination in his quest for knowledge, to know what knowledge was and to challenge it. Joyce greatly admired authors such as Dante, D'Annunzio and Ibsen.

Joyce was greatly admired by many authors including Italo Svevo, author of Zeno's Conscience who he met in Trieste and, Samuel Beckett who he met in Paris.


Product Description

Review

"Joyce's depiction of the early Dublin life of Stephen Dedalus towers over modern literature, providing a stylistic blueprint and creative touchstone for artists young and old" (Guardian)

"It's damn well written" (Ezra Pound)

"There is nothing more vivid or beautiful in all Joyce's writing. It has the searing clarity of truth...but is rich with myth and symbol" (Sunday Times)

"James Joyce is my favourite novelist...Once I had read [this] I knew that I could never create anything that even came close to Joyce's magic" (James Patterson Sunday Express) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A highly autobiographical tale of the growth of a young man's mind, and his striving for independence. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Litlinglov on 25 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is superbly well written. The wonderful language foreshadows the linguistic brilliance of 'Ulysses' and is nearly as enjoyable. From Stephen's private poetical musings to the description of hell to the everyday banter of Dublin, Joyce's command of English is breathtaking.
The book also has a more definite, concrete plot than its bigger brother, which makes the book more readable. Furthermore, Joyce fuses the language with the plot; when Stephen is young, the language is simple and evocative of children's thoughts, yet as he grows older , so too the language grows. This helps to make the book come alive for the reader.
There is very little wrong with this book, apart from Stephen's lengthy conversations during his university days which are, to be honest, a bit boring.
To conclude, Joyce preserves in these pages the overbearing influence of Catholic Ireland years ago, yet also provides an interesting and original semi-autobiographical account of his own youth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Prestwich on 9 April 2010
Format: Paperback
SO I read this at the tender age of seventeen, and I couldn't have picked a better time to do it. This book is brim-full of wisdom, elegance, beauty, ideas and inspiration it's incomparable to anything else I've read.

We greet Stephen Dedalus in his early childhood and follow his strenuous journey from withdrawn child to a flourshing Young Man, and learn a lot about Joyce's own life, and Irish politics/religion all at the same time. The edition certainly has some nice facts footnoted at the back.

What's amazing about this novel though is the language and the masterly way Joyce handles it. In childhood the language is wonderfully childlike and innocent (and indded has some childish grammar mistakes) but this develops as Dedalus develops, and it makes us feel like we're growing up with him - a tactic wholly immersing and means the beautiful prose of the last few chapters really stands out. Furthermore, the knowledge Joyce himself shows off is delightful - philsophers and latin thrown around like two gold coins in a pit of beggars.

There is, however, a minor lull in the middle of the novel, when Dedalus enters religious camp (so to speak), and we too recieve the lengthy lectures about Hell and Eternity, which although are equally elegant in their style, can get a little tedious. But it must be remebered that that is the whole point of the novel; expressing the moments that shape a man (not matter how boring there are!).

But as a conclusion, this novel is a great intorduction to Joyce and is (in my humble opinion) a better read than his more famous Ulysses. Read this, for a wonderful insight into youth and experience, and for inspiration to become a similar young artist like Dedalus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kublai on 1 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
James Joyce can write some stunningly good sentences, but too often he is needlessly wordy. He overwrites, because, as the character of Stephen Dedalus believes, there is a great meaning in the art of literature in and of itself. I disagree. Words can have meaning only if the writer uses them to express a deeper meaning. Joyce's writing is empty: it is pointless, has nothing to say, and as such the great skill of his writing is ultimately meaningless.

The result is that there's a cold, continuously morbid, unpleasant sense lurking behind every sentence. Joyce's world view is subtly perverse and loveless, as Dedalus' also is.

What's the point of writing beautifully written language when its writer cannot grasp any point to beauty other than its form in a sentence?

And this book has no plot. To have a plot you need to have a point to communicate, a conclusion of some kind towards which your characters aim. Joyce has no idea of the purpose or point of anything, and so he has no story to tell.

It's beautifully written, but has a sickness running through it, because in fact there's nothing beautiful about it. It's a great shame Joyce never found a story to believe in and truly tell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Brown on 11 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
Whilst in the General Introduction it advises to read the book first and then the Introduction, I would strongly advise the opposite unless you are a scholar of Irish history or lived through the period (unlikely by now). Also given the warning in the Introduction that there is not a conventional structure in terms of plot or chronology you will enjoy the book so much more. You will also find you needn't flip to the back of the book every 1/2 page to read the sequence of 526 notes to text. I did not have similar issues with Dickens or Victor Hugo because they each lead you gently through the setting and context of their period making the enjoyment timeless, whereas Joyce offers you no such convenience which must limit his audiences and the longevity of his writing. But Joyce was a new generation of writer and probably didn't aspire to be a Dickens Hugo or Shakespeare. If you have a slight to medium interest in historical context, read the introduction and then the book you will probably enjoy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William D. Freeman on 6 Aug. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This book is considered by many to be more readable than Ulysses and Finnegans Wake but it still employs some of the same techniques as those found in the later, more challenging works. That is precisely why this recording is such a good introduction not just to this book but to the writing style of Joyce.

As with his other recordings of James Joyce books, Jim Norton--like Joyce a Dublin native--lifts the words off the page and brings to life the myriad characters in the novel while making sense of the stream-of-consciousness narrative.

If you are new to Joyce, start by viewing the 1977 film version. It is not a great movie, but is only 90 minutes and gives you a sense of what is happening. Next listen to this recording, and finally read the book. Just like that you will have learned a good deal indeed about this famous author that most find too intimidating to tackle.

After this you will also be ready to move on to Ulysses. I recommend following the same approach: view the film (set in year of production, 1967, but provides useful overview), then listen to Jim Norton's unabridged recording from Naxos and you will then be ready to read and enjoy--yes enjoy--the book.
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