A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

$9.99

by James Joyce. With introduction from Langdon Hammer. In paperback format. Used and in very good condition. Clean. Without notes & highlighting in all its 256 pages. Readable. From Signet Classics and released in June 2006.
more about the book from Wikipedia

....is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, first serialised in the magazine The Egoist from 1914 to 1915, and published first in book format in 1916 by B. W. Huebsch, New York. The first English edition was published by the Egoist Press in February 1917. The story describes the formative years of the life of Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology, Daedalus.

A novel written in Joyce's characteristic free indirect speech style, A Portrait is a major example of the Künstlerroman (an artist's Bildungsroman) in English literature. Joyce's novel traces the intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic and Irish conventions with which he has been raised. He finally leaves for abroad to pursue his ambitions as an artist. The work is an early example of some of Joyce's modernist techniques that would later be represented in a more developed manner by Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. The novel, which has had a "huge influence on novelists across the world", was ranked by Modern Library as the third greatest English-language novel of the 20th century.

Portrait is a rewrite of Joyce's earlier attempt at the story as written in Stephen Hero, with which he grew frustrated in 1905. The story was changed considerably to emphasize the psychological experience of Stephen Dedalus. For instance, several of his siblings were major characters of the earlier version, but are almost completely absent in Portrait. The incomplete first draft of Stephen Hero was published posthumously in 1944.

Literary style

Stylistically, the novel is written as a third-person narrative with minimal dialogue, though towards the very end of the book dialogue-intensive scenes involving Dedalus and some of his friends, in which Dedalus posits his complex, Thomist aesthetic theory, and finally journal entries by Stephen, are introduced. Since the work describes Stephen's life from the time he was a child to his increasing independence and ultimate abandonment of Ireland as a young man, the style of the work progresses through each of its five chapters, with the complexity of language gradually increasing. The book's opening pages have examples of Stephen's thoughts and conscious experience when he is a child. Throughout the work, language and prose are used to describe indirectly the state of mind of the protagonist, and the subjective effect of the events of his life. Hence the fungible length of some scenes and chapters, where Joyce's intent was to capture the subjective experience through language, rather than to present the actual experience by prose narrative. The writing style is notable also for Joyce's omission of quotation marks; he indicated dialogue by beginning a paragraph with a dash, as is commonly used by French publications. The novel, like all of Joyce's published works, is not dedicated to anyone.

Allusions in the novel The book is set in Joyce's native Ireland, partly in Dublin. It deals with various Irish issues of the time such as the quest for autonomy and the role of the Catholic Church. A particular personage, who is also mentioned in Dubliners and Ulysses, and alluded to in Finnegans Wake, is the Irish politician Charles Stewart Parnell.

The myth of Daedalus and Icarus features prominently in the novel. In Greek mythology, Daedalus is an architect and inventor who becomes trapped in a labyrinth of his own construction. Later, he finds himself on an island and fashions wings of feathers and wax for his son (Icarus) and for himself, so that they can escape. As they fly away Icarus grows bolder and flies higher, until, finally, he flies too close to the sun, which causes the wax to melt and Icarus to fall into the sea.

Stephen's name is an allusion to Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stephen Dedalus, like Saint Stephen, has conflicts with the established religion. The Divine Comedy is also echoed in the name Stephen gives his aunt - Dante. Dante is so-called because of the way 'The Auntie' sounds with her Cork accent. The epigraph is from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes ("And he sets his mind to unknown arts").

Allusions to the novel The title has been adapted and parodied by many writers including Dylan Thomas in his Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, Ogden Nash in his poem Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man, Joseph Heller in Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man, A.M. Klein in his poem Portrait of the Poet as Landscape, Andrew Barlow and Kent Roberts' A Portrait of Yo Mama as a Young Man, Grayson Perry's biography Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl, punk band Dillinger Four's song Portrait of the Artist as a Fucking Asshole, and William Eastlake's Portrait of an Artist with 26 Horses. In Patrick White's novel The Solid Mandala, Waldo Brown plans but fails to write a novel called Tiresias a Youngish Man, thereby parodying both Joyce's novel and T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. Also the song Portrait Of The Artist As A Fountain by Simon Bookish. Steve Boyett's short story collection Treks Not Taken includes a Star Trek: The Next Generation parody entitled A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Fan. King of the Hill parodied the novel with an episode entitled Portrait of the Artist as a Young Clown.


  • Model: ISBN 0-451-53015-2
  • Shipping Weight: 0.45lbs
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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 21 June, 2012.

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