A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

James Joyce’s coming-of-age story, a tour de force of style and technique

The first, shortest, and most approachable of James Joyce’s novels, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man portrays the Dublin upbringing of Stephen Dedalus, from his youthful days at Clongowes Wood College to his radical questioning of all convention. In doing so, it provides an oblique self-portrait of the young Joyce himself. At its center lie questions of origin and source, authority and authorship, and the relationship of an artist to his family, culture, and race. Exuberantly inventive in style, the novel subtly and beautifully orchestrates the patterns of quotation and repetition instrumental in its hero’s quest to create his own character, his own language, life, and art: “to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce is one of David Foster Wallace’s favorite books.