Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd.
James Joyce’s Portrait
A New Reading
About this book
This concise new work shows that James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is as fresh today as it was when first published over a century ago. And why.
Its special character lies in its appeal to successive generations of readers, who take from it what they need to understand themselves and the changing world around them.
Joyce, the invisible artist, insisted on keeping separate text and interpretation, so we can never be sure how to proceed, or how to proceed with certainty. For the general reader and the student textual annotations may help. But the reader who enjoys reading does not want to be unduly distracted by notes. So in this new book the seasoned critic David Pierce focuses on the contemporary appeal of A Portrait and on the original contexts and comparisons with other writers. In doing so, he explores with clarity the distinctive contribution Joyce has made in particular to our understanding of consciousness and narrative.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was James Joyce ’s first novel to be published, two years after his short story collection Dubliners (1914). In a modernist , experimental style it traces the religious and intellectual awakening of young Stephen Dedalus , who shares much as a character with his author and whose name reminds us of Daedalus , the craftsman of Greek mythology . With this novel Joyce found a way of writing about his past, his city and country, his determination to succeed as a writer, and his ideas about history and politics as well as art and aesthetics.
The work used techniques that Joyce developed more fully in Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939), and its publication earned Joyce his place at the forefront of literary modernism.
About the author
Professor David Pierce taught at the York St. John University. He is an internationally noted author. His most recent book is The Joyce Country: Literary Scholarship and Irish Culture (Brighton, Edward Everett Root Publishers, 2018).
"Pierce’s new book seeks to enrich a young person’s own reading of the Portrait, providing just enough context and study of parallel texts so that this generation may have a genuine and meaningful encounter with Joyce’s book. Those of us who regularly teach the Portrait share this book’s goal: we know well the challenges and the possibilities. Few of us, however, will have Pierce’s mastery of the subject and ability to judge what should (and should not) accompany a student’s first experience with the book; and for this, we teachers, along with general readers, are much indebted to him. " James Pribek SJ, Studies: An Irish Quarterly, Autumn 2020.
"It is a little gem of an in-depth introduction. Its chief qualities are to always remain close to the experience of reading the book and to ensure that readers make the most – and not just the best – of their disarray…. The close readings in his book are remarkable... he succeeds in conveying the mixture of bathos and pathos wherein lies the true humanity of Joyce’s book." Valérie Bénéjam, James Joyce Broadsheet February 2020
"Pierce's re-newed reading, both for its restoration of perspectives from the decades of Joyce's upbringing, education, and writing and for its illumination of Joyce in constellation with a number of Victorian writers. Redrawing such connections, this book succeeds on several levels, calling to mind ideas and influences of A Portrait that have not always found their way into the critical conversation… Its chapters bear the stamp of a thoughtful teacher and delighted reader intent on sharing his well of scholarly knowledge and pedagogical experience." Greg Winston, James Joyce Quarterly January 2020.
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