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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Kindle Edition
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“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
- Publication date : June 24, 2020
- File size : 492 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 247 pages
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- ASIN : B08BVYKSNP
- Language: : English
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,246,288 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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One marvellous set-piece after another is presented, the family home, the fierce Christmas argument over Parnell, the playing fields of Clongowes, the Hellfire sermon, the epiphany of the transcendent girl on the strand, the creation of a poem, the worshipful encounter with the nighttown prostitute... Until finally Stephen is ready to flee the nets that trammel the Soul, and forge the "uncreated conscience of his Race"...
It is of course beautifully written as only Joyce can with the total beauty of language held in his mind and heart and hands. As his genius first shines then glows then bursts into flame... Here is his flight to the Sun.
While not normally enamoured of the "Preface" I did find Seamus Deane's to be insightful and of interest...
But read this for a vision of early 20th-century Catholic Ireland, the unique account of the growth of the artistic mind, and the beauty of Joyce's language shimmering across the veil of the world.
WRITING STYLE. The story is easy enough to follow, and there is never any writing that is obscure or difficult to follow. People who reminiscence, and who enjoy contemplating happy thoughts from childhood, such as dances in elementary school, or who contemplate childhood events that were terrifying or unpleasant, will be especially receptive to this book. I often reminisce in this way, and I sometimes complain to my sister about being beaten with a leather belt by my dad, and screamed at (even though these events occurred 5 decades ago). In my YELP reviews of my elementary school (Edgewood School in New Haven, CT), I express fond thoughts of learning to dance the HOKEY POKEY and the MAYPOLE DANCE. And so, I feel that this book was written especially for me.
FIRST PAGE IN THIS BOOK. The novel begins with memories from the author's infancy. The novel begins by quoting from a story told by the author's father. The novel's first paragraph begins, "Once upon a time and a very good time it was, there was a moocow coming down along the road." In my opinion, this is one of the most clever and compelling of all literary devices (to being a novel by quoting the opening lines from a totally different story). The first page also includes the infant's experiences with warm and cold, and we read, "When you wet the bed, first it is warm then it gets cold." A few pages later comes an amusing account of sounds remembered from childhood, and we read about the father of Stephen Dedalus, "his father pulled the stopper up by the chain and the dirty water went down through the hole . . . when it had all gone down, the hold made a sound like, SUCK. Only much louder."
TOPIC OF SPANKINGS AT CLONGOWES COLLEGE. Recollections about spankings are disclosed on each of pages 49-55 and 58-59. We learn about the prefect of studies beating a schoolboy named, Fleming, where the story goes: "He banged his pandybat down on the desk and cried, UP FLEMING! UP, MY BOY! HOLD OUT! cried the prefect of studies. Fleming held out his hand. The pandybat came down on it with a loud smacking sound: one, two, three, four, five, six . . . KNEEL DOWN! cried the prefect of studies. Fleming knelt down . . . his face contorted with pain . . ."
Part I includes recollections of ordinary activities, such as playing rugby (page 7), reciting Jesuit prayers learned at Clongowes Wood College (pages 13-17), and experiencing stomach sickness (page 20). Regarding stomach sickness, we read, "We must pack off to Brother Michael because we have the collywobbles! Terrible thing to have the collywobbles!"
ODORS AND SMELLS. The literary device of disclosing odors and smells that accompany events during the day occur on pages 7, 15, 20, 28, 43, 47, and 61. The narratives include the writing: "her jewelly slippers had such a lovely smell." We read, "There was a cold night smell in the chapel, it was a holy smell." We read, "from the door of the cabinet in the infirmary came a smell like medicine." We read, "the warm smell of turkey and ham and celery rose from the plates and dishes." We read, "There was a queer smell of stale water." We read, "to drink the altar wine out of the press and to be found out by the smell was sin." (This is about schoolboys getting in trouble.) Also, we read, "the smell of the fields in the country where they digged up turnips."
PART II. Part II drops the subject of Clongowes College, and now, we read memories from Belvedere College. Part II takes the form of stories about acqaintances of Stephen Dedalus, such as Uncle Charles, Mike Flynn (friend of Stephen's father), Aubrey Mills (member of a gang that Dedalus belonged to), Vincent Heron (acqaintance of Stephen at Belvedere), Boland and Nash (2 of Stephen's schoolmates at Belvedere).
Top reviews from other countries
Here we follow the young Stephen as he grows up and see what schooling was like for him. Of course our main character is an alter ego of the author, and so this is quite autobiographical, and gives Joyce the chance to select what he places on the paper and to contemplate things.
As we read this we see how language plays a large part as both Stephen’s use of it and his friends’ as well develops over the period this encompasses. Along with this is of course the development in character and the more adult thoughts that start to occur. This holds an interest for us especially in the schooling of the period in Ireland, where Dedalus is brought up by Jesuits. I should think most people are aware of the indoctrination in faith established at an early age so that those who have become part of an establishment are less likely to leave. We see how this affects the young Stephen who is even at one stage contemplating joining the priesthood.
Well written with a wonderful use of language and symbolism this is something that is easy to get into and thus makes it probably the most accessible of Joyce’s novels. We can also find here the beginnings of Joyce’s fascination with style and use of language as he experimented further with Ulysses and then onto Finnegans Wake, showing his avant garde style and the potential of the novel to be something more than just a traditionally told narrative.
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.