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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The easy 'Ulysses'.
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...
Published on 25 Jun. 2011 by Litlinglov

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Without a Plot or a Hope
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...
Published 19 months ago by Kublai


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The easy 'Ulysses'., 25 Jun. 2011
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome O life!, 9 April 2010
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Without a Plot or a Hope, 1 Nov. 2013
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
3.0 out of 5 stars A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Wordsworth Classics), 11 Oct. 2010
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Great, 4 May 2013
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This was my first foray into Joyce and despite a concern that I would find him "difficult" to read it's been surprisingly fluid. The style of writing does serve to confuse on occasion with a constant stream of characters referred to that at times one must backtrack to remind oneself who they actually are... But that's OK, as it's like poetry in motion and having read Angela's Ashes recently it would seem that Frank McCourt was heavily influenced by Joyce. I would recommend it but then again, I'm probably a little biased as I grew up in N. Ireland and identify heavily with the suffocating impact of religion and the passionate political allegiances that are inherent in the work. Still, if you want to understand both Ireland at that turbulent time, and the "freeing" of the mind then you'll probably love this book. (Although I take NO responsibility if you don't... ;-). Cheers for reading my review.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to the book and portal to Ulysses as well, 6 Aug. 2009
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William D. Freeman "wdavidfreeman" (Southern California) - See all my reviews
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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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remains one of my favourites, 3 Jan. 2011
As with other reviewers here, I studied this book as part of my education. With it I fell in love with words, there are passages in this book that beautifully convey the art of writing, the importance and beauty of words and reading in a way no other book can. The story itself is striking, honest and it is a bildungsroman so those expecting a page thriller akin to a thriller will of course not find that with this book. What you will find is a true classic and I would recommend that it be read prior to Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake as this is as stated by a previous reviewer, the most accessible of Joyce's works and will in turn provide a form of key to reading the remainder of his works, with the protagonist making an appearance in Ulysses. This book is Joyce's Bildungsroman as much as Dedalus's, as it shows the development of the mind of this writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exemplary., 5 April 2014
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This is one of Naxos's finest recordings of any novel. Jim Norton reads with a sensitivity, intelligence and understanding of this complex text which comes only with long familiarity. He also has beautiful enunciation and a sense of phrasing and timing which few readers can match.

Many readers will have struggled with this novel. It a modernist response to Jane Eyre, David Copperfield and Villette, charting the mental and spiritual progress of the author, thinly disguised. Its narrative procedures at times anticipate what Joyce would be doing in Ulysses and there are passages of experimental prose poetry. The major obstacle to one's enjoyment, however, is not technical but human: except when he is Everychild and attracts a degree of pathos, Stephen, the hero, is a repellant character, moody, arrogant, cold and priggish with deluded notions of his creative powers: the villanelle he struggles to give birth to is a tedious exercise in rhetorical whining. Nor are any of the other major characters engaging or much developed personalities. The book seems conceived in a grudge against not simply the Catholic Church, the female sex and provincial Ireland but against humanity itself: it is Ulysses without Bloom and Molly and those dozens of living, vibrant minor characters. Perhaps Joyce rediscovered Dickens before writing Ulysses.

But Jim Norton makes a wonderful case for this novel and of course Joyce does many interesting things with narrative voices and structure which make it historically important. This reading may well help others appreciate the whole work rather than give it up as a waste of time half way through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The flight from family,nationality and religion, 26 Nov. 2009
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technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
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In PAAYM we have the artist-hero,given a mythical name,Dedalus.There is really only one character,Stephen himself, and we see the world through his consciousness, other characters only impinge upon his mind. The girl,E.C., whom Stephen watches on the beach provides him with the epiphany that determines him to be an artist..There is an arrogance to the title,the mythicisation,the ambition:"to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race".But this is accepted by the reader who has been taken through the developing stages of his consciousness.Stephen becomes Daedalus,the master-craftsman who in his daring and ambition partook of the Promethean.

Joyce gives a precise portrait of the artist as a young man,with the tension between his ambition and what,in the novel,he has actually achieved:the novel as dramatic poem.Like the `God of creation',Joyce is quite outside this and`remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible,refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his finger-nails.'There is a struggle against forces-family,Church and state-that threaten to stifle his development.Concomitant with the movement outward from Ireland,is the movement downward into myth.On a superficial level Stephen is dissociating himself;on a deeper level he is becoming a creature of myth.This decision-systemization-led onto Ulysses.Stephen Daly became Stephen Dedalus.Joyce was determined to emerge from the groove of previous literature.

He gives the picture of infant consciousness,with tastes,touches and smells all distinct if not yet understood.The narrative is not sequential but a hodgepodge of memories due to Stephen's fever,early schooldays,holidays at home, rendered discontinuously and with intensity.The great injustice inflicted by Father Dolan makes Stephen a victim, who becomes heroic,whose protest against unjust pandying at a Jesuit school is a prelude to larger protests against Church and State.Joyce makes his (and modernism's) 1st employment of interior monologue,the stream-of-consciousness technique,moving through a range of more complex styles,which chronicle the development of his consciousness and culminates in meditations on the aesthetics of Aristotle and Aquinas and a commitment to an art based on`silence,exile and cunning'.The novel becomes a manifesto for the task of Ulysses.

The novel brings out well that his rebellion against Irish life and R/C religion did not stop their deep influence,substituting art for religion;and turning ideas of mass and substantiation into the `epiphany' of literature,everyday life into art:'the spiritual eye seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus'.Passionate intellectual argumentation has remarkable emotional force.He renders the'luminous silent stasis of aesthetic pleasure..the supreme quality of beauty,the clear radiance of the aesthetic image..arrested by its wholeness..fascinated by its harmony..the enchantment of the heart'.That Joyce lived out the conclusion of the novel's `non serviam' vow increases his achievement of the non-juring exile of extreme self sufficiency in his encounter with `the reality of experience'.Because he is dealing with the prurient Victorian world of his adolescence the preoccupation with guilt and fear and growing sexuality play a major part:a sermon on hell,a visit to a prostitute,masturbation.

Joyce's poems are like songs,he had an auditory imagination,he was a singer:Joyce lived in a world of words,words as sounds,divorced that is from meaning,using verbal association.There is the hypnotic use of repetition,chains of association are built up,words of sensory significance deliberately used to work on our subconscious minds.The relationship develops between author and object rather than author and reader.This equates the prose with the experience or replaces the experience with the prose.This makes the work self-conscious,deliberate,stylistically akin to Flaubert.He captures subjective experience through language rather than the actual experience through prose narrative(Cf.Stephen Hero).I prefer this and Dubliners to Ulysses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get along with., 29 April 2013
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I'd obviously heard of Joyce before reading this book, though I hadn't read any of his major works. I had high expectations though, and I was thoroughly disappointed. I found the prose confusing and hard to get along with. Not a lot happened but everything was described to such an extent that you lost interest in anything that did happen. If you're a Joyce fan, you may find it interesting to learn a little about his life, but as a stand-alone piece of work, I didn't find it enjoyable to read in the slightest.
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (Audio Cassette - 20 Aug. 1992)
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