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. 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. 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 fully in Ulysses 1922 and Finnegans Wake 1939 2009 1370 318 20 1380 384 964448095 466 1385 1381 263 9646629717 1394 288 9786007364093 Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes And he sets his mind to unknown arts Ovid MetamorphosesThe 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, 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 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. 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 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 and 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 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 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 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. 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 JerusalemHe 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 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 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. Words, art, lifeLife, art, wordsBEAUTIFUL 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, 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 arethe prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand that is art Man 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 clich , 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. The portrayal of Stephen Dedalus s Dublin childhood and youth, his quest for identity through art and his gradual emancipation from the claims of family, religion and Ireland itself, is also an oblique self portrait of the young James Joyce and a universal testament to the artist s eternal imagination Both an insight into Joyce s life and childhood, and a unique work of modernist fiction, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel of sexual awakening, religious rebellion and the essential search for voice and meaning that every nascent artist must face in order to blossom fully into themselves.