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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1914-1915

refered to by:
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust

The Sorrow of Belgium
Hugo Claus

The World According to Garp
John Irving

Emilio's Carnival, or 'Senilità'
Italo Svevo

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the ledge - flash version*


Now largely of interest as a way of understanding the mind and the developing writing style of James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a largely autobiographical novel tracing the author’s youth from his birth to his departure from Ireland. It was published in The Egoist 1914-5 in serial form but its first draft, 'Stephen Hero', was also published later in 1944. The central character is Stephen Dedalus (who also appears in Ulysses) and he narrates his own life in words and styles appropriate to each phase: as such the earliest stages are expresses in simplistic and fragmentary diction, while his university life is given complex and articulate form. This is its chief innovation, but otherwise it is notable for its wonderful evocation of a child blessed and cursed with intellect and a middle-class upbringing. We follow Joyce / Dedalus through his crisis of faith inspired by Father Arnall’s ‘hellfire’ sermon and various childhood difficulties such as bullying and into sexual and emotional development. In the background to this and central to the narrator’s concerns are the vulgar narrow-mindedness of both the Irish Catholic Church and nationalism, which was at its peak at the end of the nineteenth century when this novel is set. The book is best enjoyed as either a route towards the complexity of Ulysses from Dubliners or as a way of understanding Joyce’s psyche after experiencing Ulysses.


bookweb from:
Lezen&Cetera, Pieter Steinz

The Odyssey
Homer, ca. 700 v.Chr.
Homer's epic about Odysseus and his encounters with both natural and divine forces on the ten-year voyage home to Ithaca - and his beloved wife, Penelope - after the Trojan War. (see The Iliad[/i)

Gargantua and Pantagruel
François Rabelais, 1532-1553
The classic satirical and ribald tale about the travels of Gargantua and Pantagruel, set in the French countryside.

Tom Jones
Henry Fielding, 1749
The protagonist, Tom Jones, is introduced to the reader as a ward of a liberal Somerset squire, appearing a generous but slightly wild and reckless boy. Misfortune, followed by many spirited adventures as he travels to London to seek his fortune, teach Tom wisdom to go with his good-heartedness.

Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, 1605 / 1615
A comic study of delusion and its consequences; Don Quixote, the old gentleman of La Mancha, takes to the road in search of adventure and remains undaunted in the face of repeated disaster.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Laurence Sterne, 1759-1767
Part novel, part digression, this gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate 'hero' Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters.

The Bays Are Sere
Edouard Dujardin, 1888
The first novel written entirely in interior monologue or stream of consciousness. For a long time its impact was dormant, until James Joyce read it in 1903 and subsequently revealed its influence upon him.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll, 1865 / 1871
The first time, Alice goes chasing after a talking rabbit. The second time she climbs through a mirror. Both times, she ends up in a strange, fantastical world, where everything is entirely different from the world she knows.

Henrik Ibsen, 1881
Osvald Alving returns home only to discover the truth about the father he respected and the horrific effect his father's debauchery has had on him.

Confessions of a Young Man
George A. Moore, 1888
A fictionalized autobiographical account of the author's days in Paris.

Lieutenant Gustl
Arthur Schnitzler, 1901
Written in 1901, twenty years before Ulysses, this Austrian novella is a very early example of the literary stream of consciousness technique. Indeed, Joyce acknowledged his debt to this story.


Stylistically varied Homer-parody about the Dublin everyman Leopold Bloom, who emerges as surrogate father to Stephen Dedalus on the day his wife Molly sleeps with another man.

Saul Bellow, 1964
Professor-in-crisis comments on modern life in New York and Chicago.

Manhattan Transfer
John Dos Passos, 1925
New York City emerges from fast-paced montage of interconnected lives.

Mrs Dalloway
Virginia Woolf, 1925
A day in the life of a London society lady - in streams of consciousness.

Berlin Alexanderplatz
Alfred Döblin, 1929
A grubby Don Quixote struggles to survive in 1920s Berlin.

Zeno's Conscience
Italo Svevo, 1923
At the suggestion of his psychiatrist, a man looks back over his life and (non)sanity.

Under the Volcano
Malcolm Lowry, 1947
The last day in the life of an alcholic consul in Mexico.

Malone Dies
Samuel Beckett, 1951
Interior monologue of a lonely, dying man with a sense of gallows humor.

[Meneer Visser's hellevaart]
S. Vestdijk, 1936
A financially dependent old man sets out to torment those even less fortunate than himself.

Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison, 1952
Disturbing ‘adventure story’ about a black man in prewar America.

Chapel Road
Louis Paul Boon, 1953
Kaleidoscopic collage novel about Ondineke, who wants to get ahead in the world.

The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner, 1929
Decline of a Mississippi family in stylistic jigsaw.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The portrayal of Stephen Dedalus's Dublin childhood and youth, his quest of identity through art and his gradual emancipation from the claims of his family, religion and Ireland itself, is also an oblique self-portrait of the young James Joyce and a testament to the artist's "eternal imagination".
Fifteen stories about ordinary people, trapped in their everyday lives.
Finnegans Wake
Follows a man's thoughts and dreams during a single night. It is also a book that participates in the re-reading of Irish history that was part of the revival of the early 20th century.
Stephen Hero
1944 (posthumous)
Part of the first (less experimental) draft of A Portrait of the Artist
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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht,
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
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Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
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