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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Complete, Authoritative Text with Biographical and Historical Contexts, Critical History, and Essays from Five Contemporary Critical Perspectives

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Joyce's semi-autobiographical chronicle of Stephen Dedalus' passage from university student to "independent" artist is at once a richly detailed, amusing, and moving coming-of-age story, a tour de force of style and technique, and a profound examination of the Irish psyche and society.


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Joyce's semi-autobiographical chronicle of Stephen Dedalus' passage from university student to "independent" artist is at once a richly detailed, amusing, and moving coming-of-age story, a tour de force of style and technique, and a profound examination of the Irish psyche and society.

30 review for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Complete, Authoritative Text with Biographical and Historical Contexts, Critical History, and Essays from Five Contemporary Critical Perspectives

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Shut up James, you had me at 'moo-cow.'

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    “His soul was swooning into some new world, fantastic, dim, uncertain as under sea, traversed by cloudy shapes and beings. A world, a glimmer or a flower? Glimmering and trembling, trembling and unfolding, a breaking light, an opening flower, it spread in endless succession to itself, breaking in full crimson and unfolding and fading to palest rose, leaf by leaf and wave of light by wave of light, flooding all the heavens with its soft flushes, every flush deeper than the other.” Thus awareness “His soul was swooning into some new world, fantastic, dim, uncertain as under sea, traversed by cloudy shapes and beings. A world, a glimmer or a flower? Glimmering and trembling, trembling and unfolding, a breaking light, an opening flower, it spread in endless succession to itself, breaking in full crimson and unfolding and fading to palest rose, leaf by leaf and wave of light by wave of light, flooding all the heavens with its soft flushes, every flush deeper than the other.” Thus awareness is born, awareness of oneself as the shackles of society are thrown down. Stephen realises that he does not want to be what everyone else has deemed him to be; he wants to be his own man; he wants to embrace his own desires and live the life he wants: he wants to be free. And who can blame him? It’s his life so he may as well live it a way that will cause him some degree of satisfaction. Please note, I deliberately avoided the word “happy” because Stephen isn’t happy; he realises that such a state is fickle: it will always fade with time. So in this process he assesses his own individuality and slowly begins to define his emerging sense of self. To invoke a cliché, Stephen goes on a journey of self-discovery; however, the extent of which goes far beyond the typical discourse: this is about the soul of his art. “What is that beauty which the artist struggles to express…..” Is this not the entire crux of the work? Stephen struggles, and overcomes, the fight to be his true self in the confines of Irish society, and, by extension, Joyce struggles to produce his art in the confines of traditional narrative expectation: he cannot write his masterpiece by following the rules. The beauty he wishes to express will have to take a new form. So, this becomes a natural precursor to Ulysses. I view this novel as an experiment; it is Joyce dipping his toe into the pool of experimental realism before he dives in head first with his next work. He plays with his writing; he tests it all for the purpose of exploring how far he can push the limits of storytelling: he prepares himself and his reader for his next work. To call this book autobiographical is to invoke the understatement of the year. As Stephen loses his virginity and the binds of social constraints, Joyce breaks free of all sense of artistic conformity. As Stephen explores his growing sexual appetite without any care for the conventional modes of Catholic morality that imbedded Irish culture, Joyce begins to stand up on his own two feet, erect and proud; he is ready to throw his writing into the world. The artist is born.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    736. A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man, James Joyce (1882 - 1941) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the first novel by Irish writer James Joyce. It traces the religious and intellectual awakening of young Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to Daedalus, the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology. Stephen questions and rebels against the Catholic and Irish conventions under which he has grown, culminating in his self-exile from Ireland to Europe. The wor 736. A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man, James Joyce (1882 - 1941) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the first novel by Irish writer James Joyce. It traces the religious and intellectual awakening of young Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to Daedalus, the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology. Stephen questions and rebels against the Catholic and Irish conventions under which he has grown, culminating in his self-exile from Ireland to Europe. The work uses techniques that Joyce developed more fully in Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). عنوانها: سیمای مرد هنرآفرین در جوانی؛ چهره مرد هنرمند در جوانی؛ سیمای هنرمند در جوانی؛ چهره یک مرد هنرمند در جوانی؛ اثر: جیمز جویس؛ چهره مرد هنرمند در جوانی؛ ادبیات ایرلند؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هشتم ماه ژوئن سال 2009 میلادی عنوان: سیمای مرد هنرآفرین در جوانی؛ اثر: جیمز جویس؛ مترجم: پرویز داریوش؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، اساطیر، 1370، در 318 ص؛ موضوع: سرگذشتنامه، عنوان دیگر: سیمای مرد هنرآفرین در جوانی - سده 20 م عنوان: چهره مرد هنرمند در جوانی؛ اثر: جیمز جویس؛ مترجم: منوچهر بدیعی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نیلوفر، 1380، در 384 ص، شابک: 964448095؛ چاپ دوم در 466 ص سال 1385؛ عنوان: سیمای هنرمند در جوانی؛ اثر: جیمز جویس؛ مترجم: اصغر جویا؛ مشخصات نشر: آبادان، نشر پرسش، 1381، در 263 ص؛ شابک: 9646629717؛ عنوان: چهره یک مرد هنرمند در جوانی؛ اثر: جیمز جویس؛ مترجم: امیر علیجانپور؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، آوای مکتوب، 1394، در 288 ص؛ شابک: 9786007364093؛ این داستان، ماجراهای پسری را، از دو سالگی تا بیست سالگی، بیان می‌کند، بسیار پیچیده است، و در آن به مسائلی از: ایرلند، انسان، کودک، ترس و خدا پرداخته است. منتقدان بر این باورند، که این داستان، مقدمه ی داستان «اولیس»، شاهکار جیمز جویس است. این اثر، به‌ نوعی، خودزندگی‌نامه ی جیمز جویس است. نویسنده روایت رمان را، که توسط سوم شخص مفرد، بیان شده، با ذهنیات استیون ددالوس، ادغام کرده، و خوانشگر در بعضی از قسمت‌های رمان، با این ادغام روایت و ذهنیت، مواجه می‌شود. نویسنده به تلاش و نوسانات روحی ددالوس، برای غلبهٔ روحی بر عوامل منفی اطرافش - از جمله رفتار نامناسب برخی از آموزگاران، و خشونتی که بین پسرهای مدرسه، رواج دارد - پرداخته‌؛ جویس در شخصیت اصلی رمان، یعنی «استفان ددالوس»، تردید و آشفتگی، و پوچ‌گرایی نسل نو را، نشان داده‌ است. نویسنده، از تلمیح (اشاره به قصه یا شعر) سود برده، و با استفاده از متن کتاب مقدس، صحنه ی مرگ و قیامت را نیز، در این رمان نگاشته است. ا. شربیانی

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rakhi Dalal

    "Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes”(And he sets his mind to unknown arts.) - Ovid Metamorphoses The above mentioned quote from Ovid, which appears at the start of the work, best describes the conclusion of a journey of an artist through his self, trying to come up with things that matter most, while still trying to discern his place in this world. I still remember the day, when as a teenager, ready to explore the world around me, I, once looked up in the sky, which was sunny and inspiring, and "Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes”(And he sets his mind to unknown arts.) - Ovid Metamorphoses The above mentioned quote from Ovid, which appears at the start of the work, best describes the conclusion of a journey of an artist through his self, trying to come up with things that matter most, while still trying to discern his place in this world. I still remember the day, when as a teenager, ready to explore the world around me, I, once looked up in the sky, which was sunny and inspiring, and said “I wish I could fly so high in the sky that it could take me in its arms!!” That was a wishful fancy. My class group laughed at me, one even expressing her contempt at such a childish sham. That was a moment of revelation for me, a moment when I realized how important it was to set one’s mind free. I was disheartened, because it became apparent that they were not receptive, not receptive to life itself. The reading of “A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man” made me remember that instant; that instant, which I recall as one of the most memorable moments of my life. This work by Joyce has taken me down a memory lane, like Proust did :), but unlike Proust, it has made me remember and define those moments which have considerably influenced my thoughts and ideas. Those moments which have, over a time, asked me to break away from the well accepted conventions, if not to live the life of an artist, but then, to be a being that is conscious and hence, living. This work, which is considered to be semi-autobiographical, captures the mind of Stephen Dedalus effectively and renders the “Portrait” strikingly, without any transition. As Langdon Hammer, in the introduction, said, “Over its decade long composition, the creator of Portrait refined almost out of existence, a key device of novelistic convention: the narrator.” This comes from the theory; Joyce gives at the end of the work: “The personality of the Artist, at first a cry or a cadence or a mood and then a fluid and lambent narrative, finally refines itself out of existence, impersonalises itself, so to speak. The esthetic image in the dramatic form is life purified in and reprojected from the human imagination. The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.” So, what we get, as a result is the revelation of characters’ inner stream of thoughts, without us going through the narrative translation. This style of stream of consciousness, as employed by the author, has made me a Joyce fan. I was astonished to behold the expressions of Stephen, his thoughts, his anxiety, his moment of epiphany. It wasn’t as he experienced them; it was like I myself was going through those moments of reflection. Specifically, where he questioned his faith and religion, his duties and responsibilities as a Christian, more so when offered an entrance into the service of altar. Starting from his childhood, there were many beautiful expressions which reflected the development of his consciousness; the expressions, which held you captive for their simple representation. But the most enrapturing ones came toward the end of the work, when Stephen attained a more rational approach. I am only going to quote a couple of my favorites: “His throat ached with a desire to cry aloud, the cry of a hawk or eagle on high, to cry piercingly of his deliverance to the winds. This was the call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world of duties and despair, not the inhuman voice that had called him to the pale service of the altar. An instant of wild flight had delivered him and the cry of triumph which his lips withheld cleft his brain.” His moment of epiphany: “Her image had passed into his soul for ever and no word had broken the holy silence of his ecstasy. Her eyes had called him and his soul had leaped at the call. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal youth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open before him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all ways of error and glory. On and on and on and on.” It is here that Stephan comes to acknowledge that it is not a sin to appreciate beauty. That it is beautiful to live, to err, to triumph and to fall even. That it is beautiful indeed to be a human being, to live in consciousness and to acknowledge yourself for who you are.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Vacca

    Forget The Perks of Being an Insufferable Wimp; forget the hollow, hipster-plasticity of Holden Cauliflower and his phony attempts at wry observations on adolescence; forget that clumsy excuse of an experimental storyteller that is Jonathan Safran Foer, aka “Meat is Murder” Johnny, with his nauseating, gee-I-guess-our-hearts-really-are-just-too-big-to-fit-into-one-sentence-after-all mentality; forget all that useless bullshit, if, like me, you can pick up James Joyce’s The Portrait of an Artist Forget The Perks of Being an Insufferable Wimp; forget the hollow, hipster-plasticity of Holden Cauliflower and his phony attempts at wry observations on adolescence; forget that clumsy excuse of an experimental storyteller that is Jonathan Safran Foer, aka “Meat is Murder” Johnny, with his nauseating, gee-I-guess-our-hearts-really-are-just-too-big-to-fit-into-one-sentence-after-all mentality; forget all that useless bullshit, if, like me, you can pick up James Joyce’s The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and completely relate with a childhood defined by shyness and subservient silence that, with time and guidance, is fashioned into an all-encompassing fear of divine punishment for being a lowly, flesh-bound mongrel unworthy of its own creator’s love, which, in turn, precipitates a young adulthood embittered with resentment and characterized by self-loathing and drastic, vain attempts at appearing creatively intelligent as you hobnob with your college peers, those equally fucked-in-the-head fakes that use their given academic setting as a way of feeling validated and important, which is a bafflingly absurd denial of the eventual doldrums of disappointment and depression that is living a long life paired with the ability to actually form coherent, analytical thoughts that have no real value since they can’t be expressed in any meaningful way since you’ve wisely given up your ivory-tower dreams of being the famous musician, the beloved artist, the acclaimed novelist, the sensational poet, one of those people whom more than a hundred people will ever know or actually care about and remember once he or she finally dies and discovers firsthand if their deepest, guilt-ridden fear of a snarling, reptilian DevilGod orbiting their every thought and action was always true.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    I read this back in high school (and a few times since) and it blew my mind. The textual maturity grows as Stephen Daedalus grows and it is absolutely captivating. The scene where his knuckles are beaten in class (thank goodness we have moved beyond corporal punishment in schools for the most part!) was so real that my hands ached. You of course see Stephen Daedalus again in Stephen Hero as well as Ulysses. A must read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    “I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use -- silence, exile, and cunning.” James Joyce ~~ A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man This novel ... this fucking brilliant novel ... I don't even know where to start . “I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use -- silence, exile, and cunning.” James Joyce ~~ A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man This novel ... this fucking brilliant novel ... I don't even know where to start ... once more I was awed by James Joyce. James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man starts with the buoyancy, simplicity and purity of a tale told to a young boy and ends on a note that is tentative, apprehensive, and off kilter. Between the two points we meet our hero Stephen Dedalus, as he navigates the snares of ethnicity, Catholicism and clan as they attempt to trap his poet’s soul and destroy beautiful dreams. Joyce’s 1916 novel is a cornerstone of literary modernism. Upon reading the final words, it’s easy to see how Joyce upended the literary world with A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Every page drips with brilliance. The story tells the tale of young Stephen Dedalus, Joyce’s alter-ego, as we follow him along his path to personal and artistic growth. This prose is extremely modern for 1916. The character’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions are portrayed in a continuous flow and interrupt the linear plot of events and dialogue in the tale of Stephen's life. The story starts with the young Stephen reciting a nursery rhyme about a moo-cow. One of the most brilliant traits of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is evolving with Stephen as the tale develops, not just chronologically and philosophically, but also on a narrative and linguistic level. Young Stephen is deeply impacted by the Jesuits and the education he receives from them. Stephen grows to become a complex and deeply reflective young man who fiercely confronts challenging theoretical encounters about art, sex, language, religion, and nationality. As the story matures, so too does Stephen’s intellectual development which expresses itself in his developing vocabulary and grammatical style throughout his stream of consciousness monologues. As Stephen’s tale unfolds, his language becomes more poetic, especially after his rejection of religion. I can relate to Stephen on so many levels ~~ most notably a spiritually ~~ regarding his early relationship with the church and God. I was as devout and God fearing as was the young Stephen, and like the young Stephen, I had my break with the church, and when it was final, it was final. Like Stephen, I had trouble sleeping I could not escape my fear of death and hell. Chapter III ~~ one of the most brilliant pieces of writing I have ever read ~~ features a long sermon about the infinite suffering inherent to hell delivered by a Jesuit who scares the bejesus out of our young hero. Finally, I believe Stephen to be the most relateable character Joyce has ever created. He is written perfectly ~~ the artist, Stephen is developed brilliantly. In the end, Stephen overcomes every powerful influence that tries to claim his soul as he becomes the artist he was born to be. He abandons all he was anchored to ~~ family, country, and church to pursue his personal illumination. Stephen is brave, strong, and determined to reach the artistic heights he has set for himself. My only regret is that I hadn’t read this in my teens, as I find Stephen to be extremely inspirational. Taking this journey with Stephen can help the reader uncover something wonderful about who they are, and that is what makes this novel a modern masterpiece.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kalliope

    And there he was following the alleys, away from his original filial shell, searching where the way would take him, and there were icons on the walls. Icons of guilt, icons of duty. Some promised a reality beyond those grey walls announcing that there would be more light – but still imagined. Some pretended a glorious past and a glorious and heroic future for the community -- an imaginary polity. Captivating nets of restricting nationalism, coined discourses and gelled devotions. He took the tur And there he was following the alleys, away from his original filial shell, searching where the way would take him, and there were icons on the walls. Icons of guilt, icons of duty. Some promised a reality beyond those grey walls announcing that there would be more light – but still imagined. Some pretended a glorious past and a glorious and heroic future for the community -- an imaginary polity. Captivating nets of restricting nationalism, coined discourses and gelled devotions. He took the turn of one of those alleys and enjoyed the walk but it left nothing but pleasureless pleasure in his soul. They were dancing paths that entangled him more and more. He took a side turn, again after that promising light. But he was just getting into darker caves of fear, where guilt there always was: the Minotaur of sin lurking on each of those barren and sordid alleyways. The Order, the militant Order. Fleeing and escaping, not yet flying, but led by the force of hope, a dizzy hope. He met other ghosts in those alleys but they were not more real than the icons. Some white shone. Pearl white. A feather as small as a word. The fascination led him to other feathers that seemed to mark the way out of the trapping Labyrinth of stilted ideas. But one has to be careful with words. They can embody banality. Or emptiness. He knew the words of prayer, the words of nationalism. Words had also brought sorrow to that first martyr, Stephanos, the saint from the classical lands of ancient Greece. He was punished for his speech, his utterances. Words exchanged for stones: evil stones, words of evil and stones of god. Words of god. But those feathers, did the sweet Guardian Angel drop them? Or was it the heroic Attican figure with Apollonian wings? For those feathers of beauty grouped into systems of calming order. They formed an ordered and powerful structure - the syntax of thought. They led the way, clustering into meshes that winged the thoughts. Inventions could now fly. The wings of text, wings of writing, wings of beauty could help the soul glide away. Diving upward dropping the weight of morality into eternal Stasis. In free pursuit of liberating aesthetics, in all its splendour: with Integritas, Consonantia and Claritas – Wholeness, Harmony and Radiance. ----- Added 5th August, 2014. I am now rereading the Odyssey in preparation for Ulysses... and the expression "winged words" springs up in Homer's text... so suitable for Daedalus and the young Joyce.... Words are also compared to arrows in Homer's

  9. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Holley

    This book is a very dry, written version of the Dead Poet’s Society without Robin Williams. I was already grateful to Whoopi Goldberg this week for her reasonable comments about the most recent Sarah Palin ridiculousness, so I feel kind of bitter at having to be grateful for the other half of that daring duo. I had sworn them as my nemeses – minor nemeses, yes, of nowhere near the caliber of Charlie Kaufman, David Lynch, or Harold Bloom, but nemeses nonetheless. Now, I find myself thinking, “It’ This book is a very dry, written version of the Dead Poet’s Society without Robin Williams. I was already grateful to Whoopi Goldberg this week for her reasonable comments about the most recent Sarah Palin ridiculousness, so I feel kind of bitter at having to be grateful for the other half of that daring duo. I had sworn them as my nemeses – minor nemeses, yes, of nowhere near the caliber of Charlie Kaufman, David Lynch, or Harold Bloom, but nemeses nonetheless. Now, I find myself thinking, “It’s a good thing Whoopi is on the View. Otherwise it might turn into some kind of evil vortex,” and “It’s a good thing that Robin Williams was in Dead Poet’s Society, otherwise those kids all would have been running around having conversations like I’m reading right now.” What type of conversations am I referring to, you ask? Here is an example from when Stephen is, I believe, supposed to be around 12 years old: “-- And who is the best poet, Heron? asked Boland. “-- Lord Tennyson, of course, answered Heron. “-- O, yes, Lord Tennyson, said Nash. We have all his poetry at home in a book. “At this Stephen forgot the silent vows he had been making and burst out: “-- Tennyson a poet! Why, he's only a rhymester! “-- O, get out! said Heron. Everyone knows that Tennyson is the greatest poet. “-- And who do you think is the greatest poet? asked Boland, nudging his neighbour. “-- Byron, of course, answered Stephen. “Heron gave the lead and all three joined in a scornful laugh. “-- What are you laughing at? asked Stephen. “-- You, said Heron. Byron the greatest poet! He's only a poet for uneducated people. “-- He must be a fine poet! said Boland. “-- You may keep your mouth shut, said Stephen, turning on him boldly. All you know about poetry is what you wrote up on the slates in the yard and were going to be sent to the loft for. “Boland, in fact, was said to have written on the slates in the yard a couplet about a classmate of his who often rode home from the college on a pony: “As Tyson was riding into Jerusalem He fell and hurt his Alec Kafoozelum. “This thrust put the two lieutenants to silence but Heron went on: “-- In any case Byron was a heretic and immoral too. “-- I don't care what he was, cried Stephen hotly. “-- You don't care whether he was a heretic or not? said Nash. “-- What do you know about it? shouted Stephen. You never read a line of anything in your life except a trans, or Boland either. “-- I know that Byron was a bad man, said Boland. “-- Here, catch hold of this heretic, Heron called out. In a moment Stephen was a prisoner. “-- Tate made you buck up the other day, Heron went on, about the heresy in your essay. “-- I'll tell him tomorrow, said Boland. “-- Will you? said Stephen. You'd be afraid to open your lips. “-- Afraid? “-- Ay. Afraid of your life. “-- Behave yourself! cried Heron, cutting at Stephen's legs with his cane. “It was the signal for their onset. Nash pinioned his arms behind while Boland seized a long cabbage stump which was lying in the gutter. Struggling and kicking under the cuts of the cane and the blows of the knotty stump Stephen was borne back against a barbed wire fence. “-- Admit that Byron was no good. “-- No. “-- Admit. “-- No. “-- Admit. “-- No. No. “At last after a fury of plunges he wrenched himself free. His tormentors set off towards Jones's Road, laughing and jeering at him, while he, half blinded with tears, stumbled on, clenching his fists madly and sobbing.” Who are these kids? The Grand Inquisitor? I don’t know, maybe the boys in the Dead Poets Society were having conversations like that, even with their fun-lovin’ teacher. It’s been years since I saw it. I really wish Robin Williams had come and slapped Stephen Dedalus around for a little while somewhere in this book, though. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a perfect example of how I instinctively dislike people who aren’t funny. And if you tell me that he actually is funny, I say to you that if it takes you longer than 1 minute to explain the joke and at the end of explanation it leaves me with only a vague uneasy feeling, it doesn’t count. The following passage comes closest to being funny of any passage in the book (but still, yawn! Also, note to Joyce, “tundish” is not that interesting a word – Wikipedia, usually so long-winded, barely gives it a page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tundish ): “-- One difficulty, said Stephen, in esthetic discussion is to know whether words are being used according to the literary tradition or according to the tradition of the marketplace. I remember a sentence of Newman's in which he says of the Blessed Virgin that she was detained in the full company of the saints. The use of the word in the marketplace is quite different. I hope I am not detaining you. “-- Not in the least, said the dean politely. “-- No, no, said Stephen, smiling, I mean -- “-- Yes, yes; I see, said the dean quickly, I quite catch the point: detain. “He thrust forward his under jaw and uttered a dry short cough. “-- To return to the lamp, he said, the feeding of it is also a nice problem. You must choose the pure oil and you must be careful when you pour it in not to overflow it, not to pour in more than the funnel can hold. “-- What funnel? asked Stephen. “-- The funnel through which you pour the oil into your lamp. “-- That? said Stephen. Is that called a funnel? Is it not a tundish? “-- What is a tundish? “-- That. The funnel. “-- Is that called a tundish in Ireland? asked the dean. I never heard the word in my life. “-- It is called a tundish in Lower Drumcondra, said Stephen, laughing, where they speak the best English. “-- A tundish, said the dean reflectively. That is a most interesting word. I must look that word up. Upon my word I must.” I kind of want to see Holden Caulfield and Stephen Dedalus cage fight, or at least hear Holden talk for a little while about what a phony good ol’ Dedalus is. I did not hate this book as much as I thought I would, to be quite honest. A lot of readers that I have great respect for have told me this book is completely unbearable, and Virginia Woolf is so persuasively critical of Joyce in her Writer’s Diary. I don’t know about unbearable. It has mostly unbearable parts, but a couple of bearable boogey-man Catholic Church parts. I can handle the dramatic conversion chapter, but mostly Stephen is such a pipsqueak! This book fails to be transcendent in my opinion. By that I mean that I believe it does try to be timeless – and fails. I know the counterargument is that it is documenting a specific time and culture. I get that. So are The Iliad, Macbeth, and Pride and Prejudice, though, and they are still fun or tragic and reflective of some basic humanity. Things happen in them. A Portrait of the Artist…, if it is reflective of anything, is reflective of self-absorbed young men, and that is a culture I find it impossible to be patient with. Sorry guys! I want to “accidentally” spill things on your record collections and replace your hair gel with Nair. I think we should go our separate ways. Goodreaders, I do not forbid you from reading this book, as it is unquestionably influential, but I do warn you that if you are bothered by the use of the word “moocow” in the first sentence, you may not like the rest. Also, don’t listen to the audio version. The reader is a slow-talking, simpery-voiced, Joycian. I’m sure he’s a veryniceperson, and I apologize if I have been scathing. So that you are not left with the impression that I “hate everything”, which I have been criticized for in the past, and to end on a positive note, I leave you with a summary of the things mentioned in this review that I love: Tennyson, Byron, lamp, Virginia Woolf, Holden Caulfield, The Iliad, Macbeth, and Pride and Prejudice. Things I love also include, but are not limited to, baby animals, ice cream, Dr. Seuss, and the Velvet Underground, if you want to know.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shine Sebastian

    Words, art, life... Life, art, words... BEAUTIFUL! James Joyce,... what a masterful writer!! This book is insightful, poetic, artistic and profound. It is , if I may say so, a tour de force of wisdom and language. I will try to make this review not ridiculously long, but as you can imagine, when a book is this good, there is no way you can write a short review and be satisfied. So let's take a look at Joyce's brilliance, 1. Language - Joyce's language is fresh and unique, his techniques and style Words, art, life... Life, art, words... BEAUTIFUL! James Joyce,... what a masterful writer!! This book is insightful, poetic, artistic and profound. It is , if I may say so, a tour de force of wisdom and language. I will try to make this review not ridiculously long, but as you can imagine, when a book is this good, there is no way you can write a short review and be satisfied. So let's take a look at Joyce's brilliance, 1. Language - Joyce's language is fresh and unique, his techniques and style a touch of sheer genius. The sentences, especially descriptive ones, are so expressive and vivid, so that the images and scenes are felt so strongly and clearly, oozing out of the pages. "The rain had drawn off; and amid the moving vapours from point to point of light the city was spinning about herself a soft cocoon of yellowish haze. Heaven was still and faintly luminous and the air sweet to breathe, as in a thicket drenched with showers; and amid peace and shimmering lights and quiet fragrance he made a covenant with his heart." "The music passed in an instant, as the first bars of sudden music always did, over the fantastic fabrics of his mind, dissolving them painlessly and noicelessly as a sudden wave dissolves the sand-built turrets of children." these are a few examples of the sweet poetic beauty of the writing. So colourful and soothing...!! 2. Profoundness, Wisdom and Knowledge - "The phrase and the day and the scene harmonised in a chord. Words. Was it their colours? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue after hue: sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves, the grey fringed fleece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it was the poise and balance of the period itself. Did he then love the rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy of mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowing sensible world through the prism of a language many coloured and richly storied than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose?" "To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life!" "The soul is born, he said vaguely, first in those moments I told you of. It has a slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of body." "Pity is the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it with the human sufferer. Terror is the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it with the secret cause." "The esthetic image in the dramatic form is life purified in and reprojected from the human imagination. The mystery of esthetic, like that of material creation, is accomplished. The artist, like the God of creation, remains within or behind or beyound or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails." "I imagine , Stephen said, that there is a malevolent reality behind those things I say I fear." "The past is consumed in the present and the present is living only because it brings forth the future." Makes me think of this quote, - "Word after a word after a word is power." ! - - - - - - - - - - "These questions are very profound, Mr. Dedalus, said the dean. It is like looking down from the cliffs of Moher into the depths. Many go down into the depths and never come up. Only the trained diver can go down into those depths and explore them and come to the surface again." This is, the birth, growth, and rebirth of a fascinating soul. An artist's soul, desperately in want of freedom to express itself wholely and freely, its journey, its waking. Stephen Dedalus, goes down into the dark, bottomless depths of his soul's secrets, his hidden and silent conciousness in repose, his true being, and like his ancient father, the old brilliant artificer, Daedalus, he uses the mighty wings of language and imagination and reason, to emerge anew, a surging new life, an ARTIST !! "To speak of these things and to try to understand their nature and , having understood it , to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand - that is art." Man!!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a book of ripening, a story of the complicated and excruciating spiritual struggle. A boy in the world of adults: he finds out that there is injustice, that there are such things as perfidy and hypocrisy… It was wrong; it was unfair and cruel: and, as he sat in the refectory, he suffered time after time in memory the same humiliation until he began to wonder whether it might not really be that there was something in his face which made him look like a sc A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a book of ripening, a story of the complicated and excruciating spiritual struggle. A boy in the world of adults: he finds out that there is injustice, that there are such things as perfidy and hypocrisy… It was wrong; it was unfair and cruel: and, as he sat in the refectory, he suffered time after time in memory the same humiliation until he began to wonder whether it might not really be that there was something in his face which made him look like a schemer and he wished he had a little mirror to see. But there could not be; and it was unjust and cruel and unfair. Indoctrination passes as an education: God is above all and there is no free will but only the will of God and everything that is done against the will of God is sin… So eventually, God turns into a frightful monstrosity. That was the work of devils, to scatter his thoughts and overcloud his conscience, assailing him at the gates of the cowardly and sin corrupted flesh: and, praying God timidly to forgive him his weakness, he crawled up on to the bed and, wrapping the blankets closely about him, covered his face again with his hands. He had sinned. He had sinned so deeply against heaven and before God that he was not worthy to be called God’s child. But boy is growing up – he acquires knowledge, he obtains some life experience so his childish and adolescent fears are left behind… Thus a boy becomes a youth full of poetical visions and artistic hopes… Now Stephen Dedalus is capable of doing daedal deeds… His heart trembled; his breath came faster and a wild spirit passed over his limbs as though he were soaring sunward. His heart trembled in an ecstasy of fear and his soul was in flight. His soul was soaring in an air beyond the world and the body he knew was purified in a breath and delivered of incertitude and made radiant and commingled with the element of the spirit. An ecstasy of flight made radiant his eyes and wild his breath and tremulous and wild and radiant his windswept limbs. To become a true artist one must break the chains of all dogmas.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samadrita

    He longed to let life stream in through the windows of his mind in all its sordid and colorful glory so that he could sift through the layers of feeling, impulse and meaning and find what his restless soul craved for - that shred of truth too primevally pristine for anyone to begrime. But the world intruded rudely upon his solemn preoccupations, planted seeds of insidious doubt wherever it could find the soft, yielding ground of inchoate perceptions. His oppressors were many and unapprehended - He longed to let life stream in through the windows of his mind in all its sordid and colorful glory so that he could sift through the layers of feeling, impulse and meaning and find what his restless soul craved for - that shred of truth too primevally pristine for anyone to begrime. But the world intruded rudely upon his solemn preoccupations, planted seeds of insidious doubt wherever it could find the soft, yielding ground of inchoate perceptions. His oppressors were many and unapprehended - the cruel compulsions of academic discipline, the acts of adolescent savagery of compeers who were abysmally ill-equipped to deal with a difference of opinion, the steadily visible socioeconomic squalor of the milieu which threatened to blunt his senses and the omnipresent fear of every thought or deed of his being tantamount to execrable heresy. "He had tried to build a break-water of order and elegance against the sordid tide of life without him and to dam up, by rules of conduct and active interest and new filial relations, the powerful recurrence of the tides within him. Useless. From without as from within the waters had flowed over his barriers: their tides began once more to jostle fiercely above the crumbled mole." But he rebelled and won victories against the accompanying inebriety of religious indoctrination and those who demanded from him an obligatory patriotic fervor for the sake of a suffering fatherland. The relentless barrage of catechisms so forcefully dismissive of humanly considerations failed to induce him to self-loathing and guilt; he found a holiness in carnal love and an enduring beauty in the quiet surrender to mortal desire instead. The labyrinth of diverse lures could no longer throttle his ambition of escaping its narrow confines. Thus, even as friends, enemies and competitors in the arena of life busied themselves with the pursuit of social relevance and prestige, young Stephen Dedalus remained unperturbed. "This was the call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world of duties and despair, not the inhuman voice that had called him to the pale service of the altar. An instant of wild flight had delivered him and the cry of triumph which his lips withheld cleft his brain." He now aspired to the fulfillment of a greater goal, having found his one true faith in the legitimacy of art and in its power to bestow sense on the perpetual chaos of existence. __ P.S.:-This is a Künstlerroman whose author presupposes his own greatness and the conspiratorial insensitivity - villainy, even - of those who surround him. The author's ideas on women are also quite overtly simplistic and even somewhat patronizing. Thus I choose to save my 5 stars for the artist's heftier and more celebrated tomes. __ Originally published on:- October 19, 2014

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH : STEPHEN DEDALUS VS. HOLDEN CAULFIELD (Note : this is not part of the current ongoing Celebrity Death Match series organised by Manny but I thought I would revive it as a companion piece) **************** BUCK MULLIGAN : Come on, kinch, you fearful jesuit. I’ve got a tenner on this so I have so get in that square ring and batter this lollybogger senseless. STEPHEN : Pro quibus tibi offérimus, vel qui tibi ófferunt hoc sacrifícium laudis. BUCK MULLIGAN : Give us a rest of your g CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH : STEPHEN DEDALUS VS. HOLDEN CAULFIELD (Note : this is not part of the current ongoing Celebrity Death Match series organised by Manny but I thought I would revive it as a companion piece) **************** BUCK MULLIGAN : Come on, kinch, you fearful jesuit. I’ve got a tenner on this so I have so get in that square ring and batter this lollybogger senseless. STEPHEN : Pro quibus tibi offérimus, vel qui tibi ófferunt hoc sacrifícium laudis. BUCK MULLIGAN : Give us a rest of your gobshite and pannel the wee dodger. STEPHEN : Not so wee, he’s six foot if he’s an inch. BUCK shoves him in the ring. HOLDEN CAULFIELD eyes STEPHEN miserably. His psychiatrist has explained that contests of physical strength and agility will raise his spirits and shake him out of his depressive spiral. He can’t say that he gives a rat’s ass about the whole thing. In fact he’d rather be pretty much anywhere but here. THE REF pockets a tenner secreted insouciantly to him by stately, plump BUCK MULLIGAN. BUCK : And another where that came from. REF : Seconds away, Round One. STEPHEN closes his eyes and walks vaguely about the ring, ashplant dangling from limp left hand. You are walking through it howsomever. I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space. Five, six: the nacheinander. Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the audible. Open your eyes. No. Jesus! If I fell over a cliff that beetles o'er his base, fell through the nebeneinander ineluctably. I am getting on nicely in the dark. My ash sword hangs at my side. Tap with it: they do. WHAM ! HOLDEN has been thinking he may as well get this feeble thing over and done with as quickly as possible and he has strode up and flailed – there is really no other word - a long thin arm vaguely in STEPHEN’S direction. More by luck than judgement he connects with STEPHEN’s bullockbefriending ear which then commences issuing gouts of redblooded blood. STEPHEN (Throws up his hands.) O, this is too monotonous! His lips lipped and mouthed fleshless lips of air: mouth to her womb. Oomb, allwombing tomb. His mouth moulded issuing breath, unspeeched: ooeeehah: roar of cataractic planets, globed, blazing, roaring wayawayawayawayawayaway. REF issues a standing count : A one. A two. A three. HOLDEN sits down, scratches his private parts and produces a cigarette. lights it and sneers at the crowd. REF : A four. A five. HOLDEN : What a bunch of phonies. CISSEY CAFFREY : Who are you callin a phoney and what kind of accent do you call that anyway? Is he an American? O Lor, he is as well. And aren’t they all rich? So they are. Here what’s your name darlin? You look awfy young to me. HOLDEN : Well I act quite young for my age sometimes. It's really ironical, because I'm six foot two and a half and I have gray hair. I really do. The one side of my head--the right side--is full of millions of gray hairs. I've had them ever since I was a kid. And yet I still act sometimes like I was only about twelve. Everybody says that, especially my father. It's partly true, too, but it isn't all true. People always think something's all true. I don't give a damn, except that I get bored sometimes when people tell me to act my age. Sometimes I act a lot older than I am--I really do--but people never notice it. People never notice WHAMBLAM! Ooof! Shit! STEPHEN has roused himself from his solipsistic torpor and delivered a mighty blow to HOLDEN’S temple with the ash plant. ASHPLANT : Jaysus, I felt that! REF : Hey, back in your corner you holy terror, this is Marquis of Queensbury rules! No ashplants! I’m going to have to disqualify you forthwith! So I am! BUCK MULLIGAN waves another tenner in his purview. REF : If you do it again! STEPHEN, disgusted with his actions, throws his ashplant out of the ring. It is deftly caught by LEOPOLD BLOOM , an all round decent fellow with a really plumpacious sexy milf of a wife with tremendous bazooms. Let me tell you. In fact did I ever mention that one time me and her were DING DING! End of round one. STEPHEN limps over to the prone form of his lanky young opponent. He rouses him, pats him down, hauls him to his feel, and apologises. By the time HOLDEN's vision clears he finds he's been propped in his seat and a beer is in his hand, proffered by the gay crowd whose relish of the contest appears to know no bounds. LEOPOLD BLOOM pokes his head into the proceedings. BLOOM : You know, lads, this isn't the way. life doesn't have to be all about biff bang pow and the best man wins and all. let's go down the pub. Exeunt BLOOM, HOLDEN AND STEPHEN in the direction of the Butcher's Arms Public House. BUCK MULLIGAN : Dedalus wins on a TKO! CROWD : Did he bollocks! General melee ensues.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Hell-Fire: "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce (Original Review, 1981-02-16) "April 27. Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead." How much I love/hate Joyce when I read about him...how could he have denied his mother on her deathbed? That act disturbed me - he did not even kneel when she died.I am not speaking of hypocrisy here just thinking of a young poseur who was thinking of himself above al If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Hell-Fire: "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce (Original Review, 1981-02-16) "April 27. Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead." How much I love/hate Joyce when I read about him...how could he have denied his mother on her deathbed? That act disturbed me - he did not even kneel when she died.I am not speaking of hypocrisy here just thinking of a young poseur who was thinking of himself above all - as you do at that age - especially if you are the ''favourite'. How much are the writings of Joyce autobiographical? Is the 'real 'Stephen Dedalus - AKA Joyce - a 'self-obsessed arsehole' - and did Joyce realise that about himself during his writing?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Renato Magalhães Rocha

    "Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: - Introibo ad altare Dei." Scratch that. At the last minute, before witnessing Buck Mulligan mocking one of church's most important celebratory traditions and embarking on my odyssey with Ulysses, I decided to take the time to get acquainted with Step "Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: - Introibo ad altare Dei." Scratch that. At the last minute, before witnessing Buck Mulligan mocking one of church's most important celebratory traditions and embarking on my odyssey with Ulysses, I decided to take the time to get acquainted with Stephen Dedalus. I figured going to a party where I at least knew one person would be better than facing a whole crowd of strangers. "Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo." I ended up reading Joyce's autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in only three days, and in a way I feel sorry about it because I think I should've given it more time. On certain occasions it felt too dense and it was my own fault for not letting it sink in properly before starting each chapter. It was like watching a film in fast-forward mode. Even so, it was fascinating accompanying the whole process and conditions in life that turned Stephen Dedalus into an artist. It is said that, at the age of twenty one, Joyce noticed he could become an artist himself by writing about how one becomes an artist. And that he did. This coming of age story covers Stephen's formation since his early childhood and is divided in five episodes - or epiphanies - and, each one of those, distinctively, had a big impact on his personality - his consciousness and identity - and the artist he eventually became. As the title suggests (...as a young man), Stephen still has a long way to go. And the prospect of watching Stephen's continued development in Ulysses is very exciting. What made this novel so interesting for me wasn't the fact that Stephen became an artist, it was to watch his gestation as a person. To see and to understand how the surroundings impacted him and how he responded to each and every situation that was sent his way made me try to create a parallel to my own history: I wanted to identify some of the epiphanies I went through to form the person I am today. Joyce chose a very interesting period to depict in his novel as when we're younger, there's no denying we're more receptive to all kinds of stimuli and in the case of Stephen, his psychological response to them were heightened as he already possessed a sharp sensitivity - something that was key to his final decision of choosing art over his family, the church and his nation. Also covered here is one of the subjects that usually spark my interest the most: one's devotion to religious life. As I am not a religious person myself, it was very enticing to understand the entire process that built Stephen's decision to follow the religious path, from his encounters with prostitutes, to how impressed he was by Father Arnall's sermons to his sore confession of guilt. I feel books appeal more to me when the characters are as different from me as possible, because I get to study and try to comprehend points of view that I would never have myself. This episode alone encompasses the whole novel's proposition: how the events that happen to you mold you as a person. "His throat ached with a desire to cry aloud, the cry of a hawk or eagle on high, to cry piercingly of his deliverance to the winds. This was the call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world of duties and despair, not the inhuman voice that had called him to the pale service of the altar. An instant of wild flight had delivered him and the cry of triumph which his lips withheld cleft his brain." However, to put the whole argument that we're products of our environment in perspective and show us that there are other factors in play here, we witness how Stephen's vocation as an artist was stronger than the events that had molded him to that point. When it seemed he would indeed go through the religious route, our young man struggled and freed himself from his early decisions to finally follow his true calling, whether he was exercising his free will or following his fate: to be an artist. And to be able to clearly show this through masterful writing is where Joyce excelled in becoming an artist himself. Rating: Joyce continues to impress me with his writing qualities and how he develops his stories with originality and precision: 4 stars. Now, back to Ulysses: "Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: - Introibo ad altare Dei."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Seemita

    APRIL 19 (Evening): Alright. This is insane. It has been almost eighteen, 18 (has more impact) hours since I sat down to scribble something about what is going on in my mind but the right words are still elusive. And this eluding is colluding my mind no bounds. No, I did not mean to create any sense of rhythmic rhyme here. Because life is no rhyme. And far from rhythmic. It is a battle – fierce, dark, compounded with many elements and munitions and machineries and what not. It is a forever ragin APRIL 19 (Evening): Alright. This is insane. It has been almost eighteen, 18 (has more impact) hours since I sat down to scribble something about what is going on in my mind but the right words are still elusive. And this eluding is colluding my mind no bounds. No, I did not mean to create any sense of rhythmic rhyme here. Because life is no rhyme. And far from rhythmic. It is a battle – fierce, dark, compounded with many elements and munitions and machineries and what not. It is a forever raging battle where I always find myself fighting, well, ME. Yes, I am always up against myself. A Present ME vs A Future ME, A Strong ME vs A Weak ME, A Hopeful ME vs A Dejected ME, A Sure ME vs A Doubtful ME. The last one, seems, perennially raging, blazing like the eternal flame of a glorious soul. Ah, Soul . Why did I even write that word? While the whole world tells me it is the purest part of a body, the guardian of noble deeds and the first thing to leave a body that has rotten beyond repair, I have seen it the most corrupt. In my case at least. I mean what was the soul doing when I was bartering my innocence for shrewdness in school? What kept the soul busy when I bargained my mother’s love for an empty vessel of ego? And where was the soul snoring when I engaged my skin in disgusting deflowering acts? I don’t believe in soul. Or...is it just my soul? Tarnished, contaminated, listless, condemned? Does the soul have two doors? That if I enter through one, I would see wistful smoke, pious fragrance and bright lights of goodness and if I enter through the other, the room would turn black, with nauseating stench and coarse rays of sin everywhere? Is it an eternal dilemma of which door shall I push open? The Ever and Never of Soul? Of Life? Oh I don’t know. This is all so maddening. Mother told me I will get answers in the home of God. And so, I have made a good number of visits to his house. Let me say I like him. Wherever he is, talking to him, makes me feel good. Basically, he always lends an ear, the luxury which none of my friends are willing to extend. So, I talk to him. I believe in him, like I do in a friend. I fight with him, I lie to him, I sing songs with him, I spend many hours of silent confessions with him. But when I am asked to treat him as a superior, rather the most Supreme, I raise my hand in hesitant protest and ask him questions – Why should I delegate you up there? Why should I pray to you? Why should I be religious? What good it is to be a member of your community? I had respect for you and even placed my faith in you. I believed in your assurance under which I dared to offer my loving heart to another beautiful creation of yours. But by letting seep the venomous stream of unrequited love into me, you killed a part of me. Should I not blame you for that? Weren’t you supposed to safeguard my innocent emotions if I were under your refuge? In my hours of adolescent wretchedness, when foul smell of arrogance and vanity emanated from my unabashed openings, why did you not arrest it with a warm blanket of your wisdom? I started losing faith in you and you stood there, watching. Why did you not protect me when atheistic shower was pounding on my vulnerable heart? Well, I can keep pointing fingers at you because it is easy and requires no preparation. You don't answer and I can throw my missiles at you. But whether it is likely that I went wrong somewhere? No clear answer. May be I should search. May be I should read. Read more of Aquinas and Aristotle. And other great minds. I am learning anew to swim in their submersible waters. They talk about beauty and sin, glory and pity, truth and myth. Sometimes, I grab a bunch of answers and sometimes, I grapple in nothingness. But mostly, I get navigators. You ask navigate where to? Oh, I need to find answer for that one too! But by deploying the triple weapons of silence, exile and cunning, I have seen the answers are not that obscure. Really. Whether my filial duties and academic tenacities would contribute in this quest is something I don’t know. But this questioning would. And I think I would continue doing that no matter how much worthy mass the process accumulates and how much filth it throws my way. Yeah, it sounds good. Oh wait! I just wrote a whole page, didn’t I? Not bad for someone who was swimming in a wordless sea just a few minutes back. Good Lord! Alright then. Time to go. I have a walk to take and a few more questions to ask for the day. See you at another junction. And don’t ask me where. - Anonymous Stephen Dedalus My Alter Ego

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ted

    First off, I have too many shelves, so Joyce must sit on the "lit-british" shelf, spinning him in his grave no doubt. (No longer! now an Irish shelf!) I read the book first in college (not for a course), then a second time a couple years ago. The 40+ year gap provided an interesting test as to what would seem familiar and what wouldn't. I barely recognized the earlier parts of the novel, more recollection (not very detailed) as I progressed. Finally I reached the end, and was shocked as I read th First off, I have too many shelves, so Joyce must sit on the "lit-british" shelf, spinning him in his grave no doubt. (No longer! now an Irish shelf!) I read the book first in college (not for a course), then a second time a couple years ago. The 40+ year gap provided an interesting test as to what would seem familiar and what wouldn't. I barely recognized the earlier parts of the novel, more recollection (not very detailed) as I progressed. Finally I reached the end, and was shocked as I read the last two paragraphs, which I recognized almost word for word, forty years after first reading them! The mind is a strange thing. (view spoiler)[Those last two paragraphs?26 April: Mother is putting my new secondhand clothes in order. She prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it. Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. 27 April: Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead. (hide spoiler)] Incidentally, chapter three, relating Stephen's retreat and the hell-and-brimstone sermon to which the boys are subjected, provides a wonderful example of the way in which organized religion (in this case the Irish Catholic version) can so wonderfully scare the crap out of a young adult. The following describes Stephen returning to his room after the sermon. He could not grip the floor with his feet and sat heavily at his desk, opening one of his books at random ... Every word for him! It was true ... God could call him now ... God had called him. Yes? What? Yes? His flesh shrank together as it felt the approach of the ravenous tongues of flames, dried up as it felt about it the swirl of stifling air. He had died. Yes. He was judged. A wave of fire swept through his body: the first. Again a wave. His brain began to glow. Another. His brain was simmering and bubbling within the cracking tenement of the skull. Flames burst forth from his skull like a corolla, shrieking like voices: - Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Luckily, it passes. And eventually Joyce passed out of the Church. There's an interesting little section in the Wiki article on Joyce titled Joyce and Religion. Some scholars believe that Joyce was reconciled, or never really left, the Catholic Church. This section concludes by relating that, when his burial was being arranged, a Catholic priest tried to convince Joyce's wife that there should be a funeral Mass for him. She is quoted as saying "I couldn't do that to him."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Joyce is brilliant. And he knows it. And he loathes it. Forget the complexity of his prose (see Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake for the really outlandish bits). Forget his literary stature. Forget his Ireland and his guilt and his Christ. Portrait provides the reader with a character with such depth and realism that I almost can’t stop crapping my pants thinking about it. His approach in crafting Stephen Dedalus (and, thus, himself) is profound, and Joyce would be legend by this invention alone. The Joyce is brilliant. And he knows it. And he loathes it. Forget the complexity of his prose (see Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake for the really outlandish bits). Forget his literary stature. Forget his Ireland and his guilt and his Christ. Portrait provides the reader with a character with such depth and realism that I almost can’t stop crapping my pants thinking about it. His approach in crafting Stephen Dedalus (and, thus, himself) is profound, and Joyce would be legend by this invention alone. The best bildungsroman I know of. Read thrice. God job, Jim.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    Joyce delivers again. The first pages are the best - spent as they are in Stephen's consciousness when he was a very sensitive kid. I thought Stephen would be a born rebel (the way I had imagined Joyce to be) - but he seemed to be an obedient and meek child to began with and have taken a lot of time to make up his mind on various institutions (nationalism, religion, arts etc) In fact, for the most part, he is not an artist at all - the moment of epiphany which sets him onto path of becoming a wr Joyce delivers again. The first pages are the best - spent as they are in Stephen's consciousness when he was a very sensitive kid. I thought Stephen would be a born rebel (the way I had imagined Joyce to be) - but he seemed to be an obedient and meek child to began with and have taken a lot of time to make up his mind on various institutions (nationalism, religion, arts etc) In fact, for the most part, he is not an artist at all - the moment of epiphany which sets him onto path of becoming a writer came much later. It is this giving up on old Irish values and adopting new ones which is the central theme of the book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John

    An semi-autobiographic novel, featuring a fictionalized character as Joyce's alter-ego, it traces his formative childhood years that led him ambivalently away from a vocation in the clergy and into that of literature. There are sections which appealed to me (a priestly sermon on the damnation of ones soul into hell is particularly vivid), but by and large the plot line was too disjointed for me to engage with. Uncertain of exactly where I had been or what path the novel was taking me, I found m An semi-autobiographic novel, featuring a fictionalized character as Joyce's alter-ego, it traces his formative childhood years that led him ambivalently away from a vocation in the clergy and into that of literature. There are sections which appealed to me (a priestly sermon on the damnation of ones soul into hell is particularly vivid), but by and large the plot line was too disjointed for me to engage with. Uncertain of exactly where I had been or what path the novel was taking me, I found myself struggling through long pages in search of moments of clarity. There were moments where Joyce's deft handling of the english language carried me away from my confusion over the plot line, but unfortunately these were not frequent enough for me to forgive the novel as a whole. There were few, if any, characters that were developed well enough to carry my interest and advance the plot. As I neared the end of Portrait I felt cheated. One of the reasons I had selected this novel was the desire to read a classic of modern literature (it is ranked #3 on the modern language's top novels of the 20th century), and ultimately I was left questioning my ability to grasp the depths of this novel. For a well written review espousing a contrary opinion refer to Mohsen, 17Dec07.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Agnieszka

    We can read A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man as a prequel to Ulyssess but if we reject for a while first associations then what's left ? An intimate, inner portrait of a young man who attempts to define himself as a man and an artist. If we read it this way - then it is simply an universal story about the torments of adolescence and search for his own identity, his own voice. Stephen Dedalus, overwhelmed by Irish God-and-Homeland tradition, is suffocating by provincionalism of late 19th We can read A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man as a prequel to Ulyssess but if we reject for a while first associations then what's left ? An intimate, inner portrait of a young man who attempts to define himself as a man and an artist. If we read it this way - then it is simply an universal story about the torments of adolescence and search for his own identity, his own voice. Stephen Dedalus, overwhelmed by Irish God-and-Homeland tradition, is suffocating by provincionalism of late 19th-century Ireland. Ireland, living in the shadow of England, faced with poverty, also and perhaps above all else, poverty and narrowness of mind. Stephen, shown from an early age, in the family home, a Jesuit school, in college, is trying to get rid of all the historical baggage. All these precepts to be a good son, student, to love God and country. But a man’s country comes first. Ireland first, Stevie.You can be a poet or or a mystic after. Stephen, layer by layer throws out inhibiting him bonds of family, religion and nation, aware that sometimes would fall, painstakingly forges his self. Chooses loneliness and voluntarily condemns himself to exile, to find that kind of life, knowledge or art, which would allow him to express himself most fully. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake, and perhaps as long as eternity too .

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    Oh my god guys JOYCE. This is genuinely one of the best books I've read so far this year. Not really a plot driven novel but more a character study of the young Stephen Dedalus and his journey through his teen years. While some aspects of this novel may be difficult to understand if you don't have just a little knowledge of Irish history (names like Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Davitt, and Wolfe Tone are mentioned quite a lot), I feel like that doesn't effect the enjoyment you can get from t Oh my god guys JOYCE. This is genuinely one of the best books I've read so far this year. Not really a plot driven novel but more a character study of the young Stephen Dedalus and his journey through his teen years. While some aspects of this novel may be difficult to understand if you don't have just a little knowledge of Irish history (names like Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Davitt, and Wolfe Tone are mentioned quite a lot), I feel like that doesn't effect the enjoyment you can get from this novel. I particularly enjoyed the parts where Stephen and his father travelled to Cork (my local city) because I knew of all the places described and at one point Joyce even mentions my local train station (he also mentions a small village that is literally a ten minute drive from my house so that was odd but exciting) so those were fun little perks for me. Joyce has this image of being some sort of monolithic, literary genius, which he is, but that image may put some people off his work. This isn't "Ulysses" or (thankfully) "Finnegans Wake", the prose of this novel is modernist but understandable and beautiful in every way. I feel the Joyce spark has been lit within me, I must read more! *eyes Ulysses on bookshelf* Hmmm, maybe some day my friend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Simona Bartolotta

    ...Sorry I didn't grasp the part about hell. Could you start that all over?

  24. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    “You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use—silence, exile, and cunning.” I’ve maybe read the great Portrait three four times in my life, teaching it once, “You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use—silence, exile, and cunning.” I’ve maybe read the great Portrait three four times in my life, teaching it once, and each time it’s been a terrific, albeit different experience each time, of course. I first read it at 20, when I was myself trying to decide what I might do with my life—teach? Write? Go into counseling? Play music? “Find a girl, settle down, if you want to you can marry”? (Cat Stevens)--once again at 25, when I was teaching and also trying to write fiction; again at 32, as I entered an MFA program in fiction and now at 66, (quite a long gap there!), reading it with some of my undergraduate students. I recently have re-read Dubliners, which I have read many times, and love, and I have twice read Ulysses, and was impressed by the sheer achievement of it, but I am most moved still by Portrait, the semi-autobiographical bildungsroman of a young Stephen Dedalus trying to find out who he is and what he must be. The way I see it now, Portrait is the story of a young man trying to forge a life as a series of choices among several possible passions. His father and his father’s friends are passionate about politics, bemoaning the recent loss of their leader, Parnell, but politics do not become Stephen’s strongest passion. A passionate priest nearly seduces him (no, not in that way) into the life of the priesthood, noting the young Stephen’s facility for theological study, and he’s also tempted to academic work, as he excels there, too, and loves the world of ideas. He’s passionate about the sensual life, the life of wine, women and song. A young woman is at the heart of this sensual life leading him away from the priesthood. “His heart danced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide. He heard what her eyes said to him from beneath their cowl and knew that in some dim past, whether in life or revery, he had heard their tale before.” But it can’t only be the life of the flesh (or even call it love, which would happen with Joyce with Nora) as he is e finally chooses the right (vocational) passion for him, the life of the artist, one consistent with the Dedalus myth that gives Stephen his last name. His goal: “To discover the mode of life or of art whereby my spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom,” and “To speak of these things and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand—that is art.” And he chooses to leave Ireland, but it will always be with him and in him. He would never for the rest of his life write about anything else. “This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. I shall express myself as I am.” “Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.” “Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.” This is one great book. In this reading I was reminded of similar struggles of other young literary figures, young men wrestling between the life of the spirit and the life of the flesh, such as Herman Hesse’s Demian and Chaim Potok’s young Hasidic artist in My Name is Asher Lev. I think of a similar but more comic version of the choice not to become a priest by Chicago writer James McManus, encapsulated in his story collection, The Education of a Poker Player.Or: Dylan Thomas' Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog. Or Joseph Heller's Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    My college English professor was a huge fan of Greek mythology. So imagine his delight at dissecting the mind of Dedulus, an illusion to the Greek craftsman, Daedulus. I didn't fully understand Stephen Dedulus then, and I'm still unsure how much I understand him now. Come to think of it, can we ever fully grasp the method of James Joyce, this singular author who has managed to create masterpieces of all his novels? Do most of us even truly understand James Joyce's prose, or is it the pressure of My college English professor was a huge fan of Greek mythology. So imagine his delight at dissecting the mind of Dedulus, an illusion to the Greek craftsman, Daedulus. I didn't fully understand Stephen Dedulus then, and I'm still unsure how much I understand him now. Come to think of it, can we ever fully grasp the method of James Joyce, this singular author who has managed to create masterpieces of all his novels? Do most of us even truly understand James Joyce's prose, or is it the pressure of geek camaraderie that forces us to create an illusion of allegiance to the wonderment of mysterious verse? I'm afraid I don't have an answer to that. Frankly, I'm a bit intimidated to try Finnegans Wake and although I read Ulysses in college, I don't remember it enough to have much of an opinion. However, I now see why Portrait was made popular through academic book circles. It is an easier Joyce read (almost like the simple complexity of his short story, Eveline). It is a short read that follows the inner thoughts of a young man coming of age in Ireland. It is about philosophy and self-struggle. Portrait is prose poetry; it doesn't quite fit the poetic form, yet it is not quite the linear narrative you expect. As I read the beginning of this novel, when Stephen was younger and chanting about baby tuckoo and having conversations about his mother's kiss (the first half of this book is the better part, by the way) I wondered where I had come across Joyce's influence on a contemporary writer and I immediately recalled the beginning of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. If you're not a fan of literary modernism and its screw tradition stylistic maneuvers, you may find Stephen's religio-philosophical stream of thought daunting. I carried this book with me for years, even after I had discarded several college English books (you know, those huge Anthologies that always fell apart in the middle). Was it the pocketbook size of this book that made me keep it, I wondered, or was I smitten by the idiosyncratic storytelling of this highly unusual bildungsroman? Maybe I kept it so that more than a decade later, I would turn to a page and still see my underlines and notes to myself: Start an outline for an essay based on Joyce's "threefold sting of conscience." I still do remember having a discussion with my professor (via red ink down the margins of my paper) where he agreed and disagreed with my opinions, challenging me at every turn. I didn't understand it then, how could he have so much to say, so many questions to ask me about my analysis, and yet tell me that it was great work? Now I understand. It's impossible to read this book and not have questions, differing opinions, and debate, because the book itself is one big question mark. Our protagonist, Stephen Dedulus, challenges everyone and everything. He is so tough on himself, tough on his weakness and humanity, that at times you want to reach through the book and shake him: To be alone with his soul, to examine his conscience, to meet his sins face to face, to recall their times and manners and circumstances, to weep over them. He could not weep. He could not summon them to his memory. He felt only an ache of soul and body, his whole being, memory, will, understanding, flesh, benumbed, and weary. But the tug-of-war is really between the main character and the prose: they compete with each other and you can't help but to pick one. Shake Dedulus. Wow, read this passage again. Back to Dedulus: come on Stephen, you're human, you can't be perfect, stop beating yourself up so--wait, wow, look at the stylistic flow of James Joyce's prose: short and long sentences, back-to-back comma usage, repetition to create lyricism--OK, Focus: back to Dedulus. This was me while reading James Joyce. It is said that this novel is semi-autobiographical. After receiving a rigorous Jesuit education, Joyce left Dublin in 1902 and renounced his Catholicism. It took him seven years to complete Ulysses, seventeen for Finnegans Wake, and he revolutionized the form and structure of the novel. He did what most struggling writers do: get teaching jobs to pay the bills while working on the book. Yet he managed to complete what most writers won't: masterpieces. His life seemed to have drawn near to eternity; every thought, word and deed, every instance of consciousness could be made to revibrate radiantly in heaven: and at times his sense of such immediate repercussion was so lively that he seemed to feel his soul in devotion pressing like fingers the keyboard of a great cash register.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Unlike Ulysses, which I have tried to read too many times to count (the furthest I made it was halfway), I have read Portrait twice: once in my twenties, and again a few years ago. Although I found the religious sections a bit tedious, I was pleased to discover that my appreciation for the rest of Joyce's portrayal has increased considerably over the years.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    James Joyce is full of crap. I'd like to track down whoever invented stream-of-consciousness writing and kick him in the groin. Read for: 12th grade AP English

  28. 5 out of 5

    Momina Masood

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman "Already in the preface to Richard Wagner it is asserted that art—and not morality—is the true metaphysical activity of man; several times in the book itself the provocative sentence recurs that the existence of the world is justified (gerechtfertigt) only as an aesthetic phenomenon." –Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy The moon has been sighted, the siren is sounding through the air and Eid celebrations have begun here where I sit writing. The hol A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman "Already in the preface to Richard Wagner it is asserted that art—and not morality—is the true metaphysical activity of man; several times in the book itself the provocative sentence recurs that the existence of the world is justified (gerechtfertigt) only as an aesthetic phenomenon." –Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy The moon has been sighted, the siren is sounding through the air and Eid celebrations have begun here where I sit writing. The holy month of Ramadan has ended. Sometimes, when I step out of my skin and go into what Sartre calls the “pre-reflective mode” of consciousness, I am hit and swept away by an abundance of emotion, the ambivalency of which both amuses and depresses me. Having been raised in the house of a raging anticlerical father and a devout Muslim mother, I have always had trouble forming a coherent account of religion for myself. And as time passed, a raging heretic was born under the skin of my brother whose opinions are slightly more fantastical than my father; so nowadays when I listen to both of them, I seriously have little idea about what to think. Top that all with reading excessive amounts of modernist and postmodernist fiction, and you can understand my predicament. Well, this is why I could perfectly understand Stephen’s predicament. "He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured. He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a moment, he would be transfigured. Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that magic moment." How does one find place for oneself in this world? My veil misleads my relatives into assuming my piety; my interest in Western arts misleads some of my friends into assuming that I have been “led astray”; the rest of the indifferent world sees me as an oppressed female, shackled into the prisons of a religion that is, well, not looked upon kindly, at all. And yet inside I feel none of what the world or those around label me. The self seeks affirmation and finds none. In religion, one finds some sense of simplicity, some order and grounding, and yet at times one does not even know whose religion to follow. The fundamentalist’s, the liberal’s or the heretic’s? Islam or any religion for that matter is not a monolithic entity, so whose version, whose interpretation holds most currency for me? " The soul is born, he said vaguely, first in those moments I told you of. It has a slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of the body. When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets." How does one ever escape from these nets of judgment, prejudice and intolerance? How does one… fly? Like Stephen, I, too, have passed through several stages of hedonism and self-denial, but I am still to find my own answers. I believe in his journey because it is a road well-trodden by many before us, and many still go down that path looking for themselves. Though at times I find myself echoing the views of my father and brother and even sometimes those of my humble little mother, they still seem alien to me. The preachers and saints in whom my friends believe in seldom manage to move me. There seems an unbridgeable distance between us, a kind of distance that Stephen might have felt between himself and the fathers and brothers of his school. I look upon them with respect and admiration but that is all. For seekers like us who endeavor to escape and to soar above societal conditioning and familial pressures, this book seems familiar and reads like one’s own diary. We, too, finally try to seek meaning in art forms, and for most of us the world only makes sense when interpreted aesthetically. Even though I lack Stephen’s daring and fortitude and even though I might not agree with all the conclusions he came to, I still find within myself esteem for a fellow wanderer for it is a journey I recognize and understand perfectly. But enough with the memoir, let’s get down to the literary tectonics. A Portrait: The Beginning of a New Aesthetic "I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." Keeping authorial intentions aside, this book, if not construed as a product of its age, reflects clearly some of the anxieties that marked late 19th and early 20th century literature. In the words of Levenson, who writes in his Cambridge Companion, we’re dealing with an age that was consumed with the: "... memory of an alienation, an uncanny sense of moral bottomlessness, a political anxiety. There was so much to doubt: the foundations of religion and ethics, the integrity of governments and selves, the survival of a redemptive culture." The times in which Joyce was writing necessitated a relearning and revaluation of values, not only those belonging to the social and moral spheres but also on the aesthetic plane. Much of modernist art concerns itself with the reappraisal of social structures, the liberation from constructed gender roles, and this renaissance of sorts reflected itself blatantly in art forms, in their construction and expression. Even if the Portrait is not as experimental as Joyce’s later works like Finnegans Wake and especially Ulysses, it was still outlandish enough to trouble publishing houses as most of them refused to publish it. To the reader of Victorian literature, Joyce’s uncanny dialogue, the lack of a “story” and his narrative choices might be unsettling if not inartistic. But we’re dealing with an age that was characterized by this very chaos and fragmentation. But then I’m not getting into modernist aesthetics AGAIN here. I’ve done that enough with the VSI and the Companion. Cutting it short, the book’s emphasis on flight and escape could be taken as a metaphor, and Stephen’s epiphany could be likened to the epiphany that the entire modern age was experiencing and recovering from. I hate repeating myself but we are looking at an age that was painfully trying to maintain a foothold in a world that was constantly defying rational and moral norms of previous times. The discontent with dogma and tradition that we see in Stephen is not simply his own but that of the culture of which he is a representative. Thus, his epiphany in the novel is of utmost importance to understand the human predicament that he was expressing. This breaking away with the past and ushering in the new is one of the most prominent features of modernist literature, and the avant-garde expressed this fin de siècle awareness through “epiphanies” and “moments of recognition”. Levenson writes: "Many, if not most, plots, and certainly those favored by the great nineteenth-century realists, turn on moments of revelation, recognition scenes, when the illusions nurtured by timidity, prejudice, or habit fall away, and a naked self confronts a naked world. These are the moments when identity is begun, renewed, or completed. French Naturalism added a different plot, in which the revelation is gradual, and of something already known, but concealed: a moral or physical flaw, an organic "lesion." Both kinds of plot favor awareness. Illusions are there to be stripped away." And regardless of whether the illusions be moral or political in nature. Stephen confronts both the established religious system of his time and various political views of his colleagues and tries to escape from them all. For him is the search for his own destiny, his own voice and his own opinions and this noncorformism and individualism is again a big part of modernist sensibility. As his name suggests (one must applaud Joyce for his employment of the metaphor), Stephen Dedalus desires freedom. "Now, as never before, his strange name seemed to him a prophecy. So timeless seemed the grey warm air, so fluid and impersonal his own mood that all ages were as one to him. A moment before the ghost of the ancient kingdom of the Danes had looked forth through the vesture of the haze wrapped city. Now, at the name of the fabulous artificer, he seemed to hear the noise of dim waves and to see a winged form flying above the waves and slowly climbing the air. What did it mean?" The fact that the plot doesn’t resolve into anything concrete is perfectly comprehensible: the human self continues evolving, always surprising itself and its past, always morphing into new forms. There is no end to self-actualization, it is a journey that only ends with the individual, and thus the narrative does not contain a well-defined dénouement or climax. This is, after all, a defining feature of the modern novel. Belonging to the genre of the Bildungsroman (which we call the coming-of-age novel) and the sub-genre of the Künstlerroman (which specifically deals with the evolution of the artist), the purpose of the book is the journey and not the destination. And we do have a journey—almost poetically presented—of an age that sought its haven and its truth, its affirmation and its anchorage in its arts and in all that is beautiful and sublime. As Nietzsche remarks, man found his true calling, amid the destruction and reconstruction of his world, he found his purpose and his meaning in the aesthetic! The fact that this book culminates into a fascinating aesthetic theory says a lot. Anyway, this book is highly recommended to the student of modernist literature. One can see the new aesthetic in its embryonic form in Joyce’s first novel and in its grand maturation in Ulysses. The beginning and evolution of the aesthetic, like that of the artist, is very fascinating but for those who are into that sort of thing. For those who have little interest in what or what not this novel contributed to English literature, well, I don’t see how they can find this especially enjoyable. And I also recommend this book to the seeker, and the appreciator of human courage and individualism. Those who strive to define themselves, not fearing exile or isolation, it is for those that this book could hold value. Stephen and I might end up in different places, under the shade of different havens, with different meanings and truths, but it is the same path that we take, the same road that we walk upon. The quest is endless, the journey without a destination, but as long as we keep on moving, as long as we keep seeking and striving, the human condition does not seem to me that hopeless. "To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal youth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open before him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error and glory. On and on and on and on!"

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    Birds in Flight "For ages, men [have] gazed upward as [they've been] gazing at birds in flight." Not surprisingly for a novel whose principal character is "Dedalus", its core theme is flight, in two senses: departure (or escape from captivity) and ascent (if not ascension). When we meet Stephen Dedalus, he is an infant, a "baby tuckoo", a bird whose wings have not yet grown or become functional. Over the course of five chapters, we witness him flee family, church, politics, country and pedestri Birds in Flight "For ages, men [have] gazed upward as [they've been] gazing at birds in flight." Not surprisingly for a novel whose principal character is "Dedalus", its core theme is flight, in two senses: departure (or escape from captivity) and ascent (if not ascension). When we meet Stephen Dedalus, he is an infant, a "baby tuckoo", a bird whose wings have not yet grown or become functional. Over the course of five chapters, we witness him flee family, church, politics, country and pedestrian life, in favour of a life of creative individualism. Creativity, the pursuit of beauty, constitutes Stephen’s second flight. In Religion, there is only one Creator, God. "Sin, be it in thought or deed, is a transgression of His Law..." A sin is a flight from God and God’s Law. It elevates the individual over their God. A sin is "an instant of rebellious pride of the intellect." The desire to create is an act of rebellion. This pride "made Lucifer and a third part of the cohort of angels fall from their glory. A sin, an instant of folly and weakness, drove Adam and Eve out of Eden..." Hence, the challenge for Stephen is how to aspire, how to fly, but not fall from glory. We don’t get to see Stephen’s ascent. The novel finishes at the point of his departure. However, there is a sense in which, to the extent that Stephen is Joyce, his ascent is realised in the novel itself, in which the author, in the words of Ovid, "turns his mind to unknown arts." These arts are the craft of Daedalus, the "clever worker," "the skilled craftsman and artist," the artificer, the father of Icarus, who, also given a pair of wings fabricated by Daedalus, flew too close to the sun and fell to Earth. It’s no coincidence that Thoth, the Egyptian god of scribes and writers, is depicted with the head of an ibis. As perfect as this novel is, it would preempt, but only hint at, the mythic potential of "Ulysses", in which Joyce's ambition and talent would really take off and soar. "Daedalus and Icarus", by Frederick Leighton, ca 1869 VERSE: Cricket Practice [In the Words of Joyce] In the soft grey silence, He could hear the bump of balls, And from here and there, Through the quiet air, The sound of cricket bats: Pick, pack, pock, puck: Like drops of water In a fountain falling Softly in the brimming bowl. Aubrey's Gang [In the Words of Joyce] Aubrey's gang made forays Into old maids' gardens Or went down, castle-bound, To fight their battles on Shaggy weed-grown rocks. They came home afterwards, Weary stragglers all, With the stale odours Of the foreshore still In their youthful nostrils. Meanwhile, with all their Derring done, the rank oils Of the seawrack remained Upon their weary hands And in their lank dark hair. Removal Men [In the Words of Joyce] The front garden was strewn With wisps of straw and rope ends, While two men hustled furniture Into the huge vans at the gate. Without Companion, Wandering [In the Words of Joyce] His mind shone Coldly on their Regrets and strifes And happiness, Like a moon upon A younger earth. No life or youth Stirred inside him, Nor had he known The pleasure of Companionship Nor the vigour Of rude male health. An abyss of fortune Sundered him Apart from them. Nothing stirred Within his soul, But a cold and cruel And loveless lust. His soul incapable Of simple joys. Wandering Onward [In the Words of Joyce] And so he wandered Onward, undismayed, Wondering whither He had strayed. Women and girls, Leisurely, young And perfumed, In long vivid gowns Awakened him From the slumber Of countless centuries. He read the meaning Of one girl's movements In her frank uplifted eyes, And, duely seduced, Surrendered himself To the dark pressure Of her softly parting lips. Darker than the swoon of sin, Softer than any sound Or odour of enticement. No part of body or soul Was maimed by excess, But peace between them Constituted. Sacred Rapture [In the Words of Joyce] His eyes shunned Every encounter With the eyes of women, Seeking only the art Of sacred rapture, In which parted hands And lips and eyes Were as of one About to swoon And faint before God Himself, Her glorious Creator. No Priestly Office [In the Words of Joyce] His destiny Was to elude Religious and Social orders. The priest's appeal Did not touch him Near to his quick. He was destined To learn wisdom Apart from others, Wandering through The sinful snares Of the fallen And wayward world. The Phrase and Day and Scene [In the Words of Joyce] Upon a day of Dappled seabourne clouds, As it seemed to him, Along the course of The slowflowing Liffey, Slender masts flecked the sky And, more distant still, Avowed by his gaze, The dim fabric of The timeless city Lay prone in haze. Without Shame or Wantonness [In the Words of Joyce] Long, long, Alone and still, She suffered The worship Of his gaze On her flesh, Soft-hued like Ivory, An emerald Trail of seaweed Upon her Slender legs. SOUNDTRACK: Buffalo Springfield - "Expecting to Fly" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzMl0-... Stephen Dedalus - "Goin' Out West" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQNLa8...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    First thoughts: Novel - executed in the fine tradition of the autobiographical novels of the European romantic movement. Artist - an Epicurean with a studied bookish air and an affected intellectual confidence; narcissistic, if endearingly earnest; frightened away from his equals and home; looking for a worthy platform, to place the burden of the blame. An ‘artist’ only by self-definition who concludes too grandly and too futilely and too prematurely. Definitely no Künstlerroman. Can’t wait for th First thoughts: Novel - executed in the fine tradition of the autobiographical novels of the European romantic movement. Artist - an Epicurean with a studied bookish air and an affected intellectual confidence; narcissistic, if endearingly earnest; frightened away from his equals and home; looking for a worthy platform, to place the burden of the blame. An ‘artist’ only by self-definition who concludes too grandly and too futilely and too prematurely. Definitely no Künstlerroman. Can’t wait for the proto-artist to grow up into one (if he ever does). Both - Means towards an end? Early steps down a long winding path? Full review once second thoughts take shape… Are you not weary of ardent ways? Tell no more of enchanted days.

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