An Analysis of "A Portrait of the Artist as a young man" by James Joyce

Role of the writings of James Joyce in the world literature. Description the most widespread books by James Joyce: "Dubliners", "Ulysses". Young Irish artist Stephen Dedalus as hero of the novel. An Analysis interesting facts the work of James Joyce.

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The aim of the present paper is to study the life of James Joyce, an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century, who broke all the rules of writing. He was a representative of writers who used the method of “the stream of consciousness”.

The importance of the topic is the role of the writings of James Joyce in the world literature and their influence on the literature worldwide.

The paper consists of 5 chapters. Chapter 1 tells about the life of the Great Writer, his childhood and family. This chapter is paid much attention to as our nature is formed in our childhood and childhood experiences affect all our life, no matter what we are. James Joyce is one of the writers whose childhood remained in his mind forever and woke up every time he took the pen in his hands in order to depict life in general.

Chapter 2 gives a brief description of the writer's works.

Chapter 3 reveals the image of Stephen Dedalus, the main character of the novel “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”.

Chapter 4 is a comparison of the writer himself and his creation, namely Stephen Dedalus.

Chapter 5 represents some interesting facts related to Joyce, his life and works, which are taken from different Internet sites.

The Life of the Great Writer

James Joyce was born on 2 February 1882 to John Stanislaus Joyce and Mary Jane Murray in the Dublin suburb of Rathgar. He was the eldest of ten children. His father's family had once owned a small salt and lime factory, which was eventually lost. In 1887, his father was appointed rate collector by a Dublin Corporation and the family moved to the small town of Bray 19 km from Dublin. Around this time Joyce was attacked by a dog, which engendered in him a lifelong cynophobia. He also suffered from keraunophobia, as his deeply religious aunt had described thunderstorms as a sign of God's wrath. ( )

Entering Jesuit schools in Clongowes and Belvedere, then the National University of Ireland, he excelled as a student.

Joyce at age nine wrote a poem, Et Tu Healy on the death of Charles Steward Parnell. His father was angry with the treatment of Parnell by the Catholic Church. The elder Joyce had printed the poem and even sent a part to the Vatican Library. In November of the same year, John Joyce entered in Stubbs Gazette (an official register of bankruptcies) and was suspended from work. John Joyce was dismissed with a pension, and the family began to slide into poverty. John's drinking habit and general financial mismanagement were the main causes of this mishap.

James Joyce began his education at Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school, which he entered but had to leave when his father could no longer pay the fees. Joyce then studied at home and briefly at the Christian Brothers school in North Richmond Street, Dublin, before he was offered a place in the Jesuits' Dublin school, Belvedere College. He hoped that this offer would help him to join the Order. Students were elected to the Order on account of their leadership qualities, positive attitudes and were meant to develop enthusiasm for studies among the students. And at the age of 16 Joyce rejected Catholicism, but later he came to his faith back again.

After graduating from the Belvedere College in 1898, he enrolled at the recently established University College, Dublin, studying English, French, and Italian. He also became active in theatrical and literary circles in the city. In 1900 his review of Ibsen's New Drama was published in Fortnightly review, which was his first publication. Many of the friends he made at the University College later appeared in Joyce's works.

After graduating from UCD, Joyce left for Paris to study medicine, but soon he abandoned this. He stayed on for a few months, appealing for finance to his family, who could ill afford it. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, his father sent a telegram which said, "NOTHER DYING COME HOME FATHER". Joyce returned to Ireland. She finally passed into a coma and died on 13 August, James and Stanislaus refused to kneel with other members of the family praying at her bedside. After her death he continued to drink heavily. He scraped a living reviewing books, teaching and singing.

On 7 January 1904 he attempted to publish A Portrait of the Artist, an essay-story dealing with aesthetics, but the free-thinking magazine Dana rejected it. On his twenty-second birthday he decided to turn the story into a novel which he called Stephen Hero. It was a fictional rendering of Joyce's youth, but he eventually grew frustrated with its plot and abandoned this work. It was never published in this form, but years later, in Trieste, Joyce completely rewrote it as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

The same year he met Nora Barnacle, a young woman from Connemara, County Galway who worked as a chambermaid. On 16 June 1904, they first “stepped out” together (as James Joyce said). This event will be commemorated as the date for the action of Ulysses. ( )

Shy, bespectacled James Joyce never allowed himself a single curse in the presence of women, but in his writings he reached the depths of the black swearing and sexual fantasies. His masterpiece, the novel "Ulysses" was banned in 1920 in the U.S. and UK for obscenity and remained under a censor ban until the mid 30-ies.

As a teenager, Joyce often spent time in the "Night City ". It was the name of the area where brothels were concentrated. In "Night City" Joyce became a “man" at the age of fourteen. When he was twenty years old, he decided that he would never have sexual relations with prostitutes, saying that from now on he would only sleep with a woman who "has a soul." Nora Barnacle was the very woman. After their first meeting Joyce wrote "It was the first time I didn't pay money for love" ... So the 16 June 1904, became the day, which is described in the novel "Ulysses." This day is now celebrated in Ireland with carnival parades. ( )

Joyce remained in Dublin for some time, drinking heavily. After one of these drinking binges, he got into a fight over a misunderstanding. He was picked up and dusted off by one of his father's acquaintance Alfred H. Hunter, who brought him into his home to treat his injuries. Hunter was rumored to be a Jew and to have an unfaithful wife. At that time Hunter helped a medical student Oliver St John Gogarty. Hunter later became one of the models for Leopold Bloom, the main character of Ulysses, and Gogarty was the one who became the prototype for the character Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. After staying in Gogarty's Martello Tower for six nights, Joyce left in the middle of the night because of a quarrel which involved Gogarty shooting a pistol at some pans hanging directly over Joyce's bed. He walked all the way back to Dublin to stay with relatives for the night, and sent a friend to the tower the next day to pack his trunk. Shortly thereafter he eloped to the continent with Nora. (

Joyce and Nora went into self-imposed exile, moving first to Zurich, where he worked as a teacher of English at the Berlitz Language School, then director of the school sent him to Trieste, which was a part of Austria-Hungary until World War I (today part of Italy). With the help of Almidano Artifoni, the director of the Trieste Berlitz School, he secured a teaching position in Pola, also a part of Austria-Hungary (today part of Croatia). He stayed there, teaching English mainly to Austro-Hungarian naval officers until the Austrians expelled all aliens. With Artifoni's help, he moved back to Trieste and began teaching English there. He would remain in Trieste for the next ten years. Later that year Nora gave a birth to their first child, George. Joyce invited his brother, Stanislaus, and secured him a teaching position at the school. Stanislaus and James had strained relations throughout the time they lived together in Trieste because of James's drinking habits and frivolity with money.

James became frustrated with life in Trieste and moved to Rome in late 1906, having secured employment in a bank. He intensely disliked Rome and moved back to Trieste. His daughter Lucia was born in the summer of the same year.

Joyce returned to Dublin in mid-1909 with George, in order to visit his father and work on getting Dubliners published. He visited Nora's family in Galway. He also launched Ireland's first cinema, the Volta Cinematograph. While preparing to return to Trieste he decided to take one of his sisters, Eva, back with him to help Nora run the home. He spent only a month in Trieste and went back to Dublin. His venture was successful and he returned to Trieste in January 1910 with another sister, Eileen. Eva became very homesick for Dublin and returned a few years later, but Eileen spent the rest of her life on the continent.

Joyce returned to Dublin again in mid-1912 during his years-long fight with his Dublin publisher George Roberts over the publication of Dubliners. His trip was once again fruitless. After this trip he never again came closer to Dublin than London.

One of his students in Trieste was Ettore Schmitz. They became lasting friends and mutual critics. While living in Trieste, Joyce found eye problems for the first time that ultimately required over a dozen surgeries.

His skill at borrowing money saved him from indigence. His income came partially from his position at the Berlitz School and partially from teaching private students.

In 1915he moved to Zurich. There, he met one of his most enduring and important friends, Frank Budgen, whose opinion Joyce constantly sought while writing Ulysses. It was also here that he got acquainted with the English feminist and publisher Harriet Shaw Weaver, who would become Joyce's patron, providing him thousands of pounds over the next 25 years and relieving him of the burden of teaching in order to focus on his writing. In Zurich he published A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man.

Zurich during the war was a home for exiles and artists from the whole Europe, and its bohemian, multilingual atmosphere suited him. Nevertheless, after four years he became restless, and after the war he returned to Trieste. His relations with his brother became more strained than ever. Joyce headed to Paris in 1920 at an invitation from Ezra Pound, supposedly for a week, but he ended up living there for the next twenty years. ( )

Joyce set himself in Paris. A further grant from Miss Shaw Weaver meant he could devote himself full-time to writing again. During that time, Joyce's eyes began to give him more and more problems. He was treated by Dr. Louis Borsch in Paris, receiving nine surgeries from him until Borsch's death in 1929. Throughout the 1930s he frequently traveled to Switzerland for eye surgeries and treatments for Lucia, who suffered from schizophrenia. Lucia was analyzed by Carl Jung at the time, who after reading Ulysses, concluded that her father had schizophrenia too. Jung said she and her father were two people sinking in a river, except that he was diving and she was falling.

In Paris, Maria and Eugene Jolas nursed Joyce during his long years of writing. He returned to Zurich in late 1940, fleeing the Nazi occupation of France.

On 11 January 1941, he underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer. While at first improved, he had a relapse the following day, and despite several transfusions, fell into a coma. He awoke at 2 a.m. on 13 January 1941, and asked for a nurse to call his wife and son before losing consciousness again. They were still on their way when he died 15 minutes later. He is buried in the Fluntern Cemetery within earshot of the lions in the Zurich Zoo.

The Irish government subsequently declined Nora's offer to permit the repatriation of Joyce's remains. Nora, whom Joyce had finally married in London in 1931, survived him by 10 years. She is buried now by his side, as is their son George.

Joyce as a Novelist

The most widespread books by James Joyce are “Dubliners”, ”Ulysses” and “The portrait of an Artist as a Young man”.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a nearly complete rewrite of the abandoned novel Stephen Hero. Joyce attempted to burn the original manuscript in a fit of rage during an argument with Nora, though to his subsequent relief it was rescued by his sister. ( )

"Ulysses" and Joyce's last novel, "Finnegans Wake" for a long time moved "The portrait of the Artist as a Young man" aside, becoming the main theme of researchers.

We should not, however, think that "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man" was not an event in literature. Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf and H. G. Wells agreed that this is a work of genius, and said that it isn't less flattering than "Ulysses."

The first friendly critics, which appeared immediately after the publication of "Portrait…" received a deserved sequel only in the postwar period, when the interest in the product revived. It was the time when critics began to attempt a thorough analysis of this deserved work. Simplicity of language and expressive means of traditional forms didn't allow to appreciate this work: the fullness and richness of its colors, advances in techniques of narration, mythological elements, changes in the structure of the autobiographical novel and the novel of education.

In a letter to the editor Joyce wrote: "I am deeply convinced that you will hold the development of civilization in Ireland, if you hinder ensuring of the Irish people to look at themselves in my well-polished mirror ". The writer follows formulated plan of his book: "My intention was to write a chapter of the spiritual history of the country, and I chose Dublin as a scene for this chapter because the city seems to me the center of paralysis. I tried to produce its life on the court of impartial reader in four aspects: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and public life. The stories are shown exactly in this order. I wrote this book in the most part in the style of extremely unvarnished, in the belief that only a very confident and daring artist can afford to change his narration (what is more to distort ) what he saw and heard. "Joyce describes the lonely and miserable existence of people who are dragged into a quagmire of general platitude and vanity. (

Joyce used method of “the stream of consciousness”. The term reflected a common view of reality: anything and everything had to be new: new people, new women and new spirit. "The people, who lived in a transient period, had a feeling that they are indeed entering a new era where there will be a different morality, different philosophy and different religion." Active rejection of the outside world and find ways of escaping from reality, especially the laws of modern life cause a desire to penetrate into the inner world. Full concentration on the inner life of the hero leads to the creation of the method of "stream of consciousness" the only correct way to understand and capture the personality. This method made it possible penetrate deeply into the soul of man, carefully analyze and reveal the different shades of thoughts and feelings. Stream of consciousness - came to the literature in XX century. The term "stream of consciousness" belongs to the American idealist philosopher William James: “Consciousness is a stream, river, where thoughts, feelings, memories, flash associations constantly interrupting each other, and bizarrely, "illogical" are intertwined”. Stream of consciousness creates the impression that the reader "eavesdrops" his experience in the minds of the characters. Ortega y Gasset said: "The best way to overcome the realism, to bring it to an extreme example, take a magnifying glass and examine it through life with a microscope, as Joyce did." James Joyce is one of the keys and most ambitious figures in the literary process of the XX century drew in his works a new picture of the relationships between man and the world. ( )

The formation of Stephen

X. Kenner and R. Reef are among the first who considered that "The Portrait" isn't a ground for "Ulysses," but offers a key to understand the rest of the works of Joyce.

We should pay attention on the fact that for each period of Stephen's life Joyce uses different styles of writing. At the same time, different parts of the book flow into another smoothly, without abrupt transitions. This gives the illusion of a natural process of growing up, which is always invisible until the moment of dramatic changes. (

The "space of his home” becomes a guideline, a harmonious space that initially enters the world of the boy, existing as an indivisible unity of the positive. The transference of space from positive to negative occurs when the hero in the out-of-home area, where there are no positive characteristics, inherent in his home. When comparing home and college there is always a positive correlation with home, but college takes the features of hostile space. At the end of the novel identity of these spaces can be expressed in combining these associations. Thus, negative space, was completely absent at the beginning of the novel. But the world around him caused complete rejection. Stephen Dedalus believes, deliberately breaking all the threads that connect it with these spaces, it could create "a new soaring impalpable immortal" consciousness of its people. He, like the author wonders about the existence of God. Not seeing the presence of God in his created world, Stephen comes to the inner conviction that the heavens are empty, and that perfection must be sought only in him.

In a letter to his friend Joyce wrote: "Ten years of my life I spent in correspondence and litigation of my book "Dubliners" which was rejected it in 40 publishing houses, once was burned. My expenses for postage, travel and honoraria to lawyers have exceeded the amount of 3000 franks, besides I had corresponded with 7 lawyers and 3 communities, 40 publishers and many writers. My novel "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man" was rejected by every London publishment, whom I offered it, rejected with insulting comments".

Parallels between J. Joyce and Stephen

The hero of the novel, a young Irish artist, has quite unusual for the Irish name - Stephen Dedalus. The name is a reference to the ancient Greek myth of Dedalus, from early childhood to late adolescence, showing the reader the process of establishing his religious and philosophical views in details. The author discusses many of the morals of contemporary Ireland, fully disclosing to the reader images of this country and its people. If we take into account the fact that the prototype of the hero himself is Joyce, and the novel has many autobiographical moments, it turns out that the book allows the reader trace simultaneously the development of personality of the creator and the story of the writer.

In addition, the name of the hero - Stephen - carries additional connotations: it resembles the Christian protomartyr Stephan and, accordingly, shows that the destiny of the artist is to be misunderstood and persecuted. It is also an indication of the crown of glory - "Stephanos", genius who wasn't recognized during his lifetime. There are thoughts about the eternal, bitter and at the same time saving loneliness of an artist in the heart of the novel, how he should defend for his individuality and independence of his inner world. The words of Stephen Dedalus “ Silence, exile, skill “became a motto for Joyce and a beginning of a new phase of his life and work. In the article "Day of Crowds" the young Joyce suggested the idea that the artist devoted himself to true art, can create only outside of Ireland. A related thesis about the deliberate exclusion of the artist who doesn't have to go on deal with the crowd: "This radical principle ... is especially applicable in times of crisis, and today, when the highest form of the art was kept only at the cost of incredible sacrifices, it is so strange to see that artist deals with the crowd". Ultimately, the "crowd" becomes the whole society for the artist and the attempt to gain freedom becomes an illusion, finishing by the tragedy of Icarus.

( )

The main object of study in a number of papers becomes the figure of Stephen Dedalus itself and his aesthetic theory of relation to the art of the Joyce.

The old school regarded Stephen as alter ego of Joyce; the new school stressed the ironic attitude of Joyce to Stephen, and thought that the views of the hero and the author, if aren't opposite, but quite differ from each other.

The whole world that surrounded Stephen Dedalus - people, things, houses, cities - are drawn only so far as they contribute to the disclosure of the inner world of the hero. There is no clearly identified and sufficiently clear manifesting in the plot, which could be related to the development of Stephen in life. ( )

Some facts related to the life and the work of James Joyce:

1. Joseph Strick directed a film of the book “Ulysses”, which awarded an Oscar in 1968 as best adapted screenplay; Golden Globe Awards in 1968 as the best foreign film in English; the prize of British Academy in 1968 for Best British Actress (Barbara Jefford), Best Cinematography (black and white movies), the most promising newcomer (Milo O'Shea) and on Cannes Film Festival in 1967 awarded Palme d'Or.

In 1977 Joseph Strick directed a new film of another book of James Joyce “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man”. (

2. There are several statues of James Joyce on North Earl Street in Dublin.

3. The work and life of Joyce is celebrated annually on 16 June in Dublin and in an increasing number of cities worldwide and is called Bloomsday.

Bloomsday (a term Joyce himself did not employ) was invented in 1954, on the 50th anniversary of the events in the novel, when John Ryan (artist, critic, publican and founder of Envoy Magazine) and the novelist Flenn O'Brien organized what was to be a daylong pilgrimage along the Ulysses route. They were joined by Patrick Kavanagh, Anthony Cronin, Tom Joyce. Ryan had engaged two horse drawn cabs, of the old-fashioned kind, which in Ulysses Mr. Bloom and his friends drive to poor Paddy Dignam's funeral. The party was assigned roles from the novel. They planned to travel round the city through the day, visiting in turn the scenes of the novel, ending at night in what had once been the brothel quarter of the city, the area which Joyce had called Nighttown. . A Bloomsday record of 1954, informally filmed by John Ryan, follows this pilgrimage. ( )

4. There is a wax statue of James Joyce in the National Wax Museum in Dublin. ( )

5. James Joyce Bridge - arched bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin.In one of James Joyce's stories "The Dead", the action takes place in the house, which is now in front of the bridge.The bridge was opened on June 16, 2003 in the so-called Bloom's Day. Bridge is illuminated at night. (

6. James Joyce Tower is a Museum and a sightseeing place, located 13 miles south from Dublin, Ireland.The tower was built to protect from invasion of Napoleon's troops. In 1904, the building was rented, and the first tenant was the poet Oliver Gogarty, who invited James Joyce to stay with him. By the time of the alleged visit Joyce damaged relations with the owner of the tower, writing an insulting poem about him. Oliver did not cancel the invitation, but during a week the situation has worsened. One night, Gogarty fired with his pistol over the head of Joyce, who had to flee.

Now there is an exhibition devoted to James Joyce on two floors, who had chosen the tower as the location of the first chapter of the novel "Ulysses". One room is decorated the way it is described in the book. ( )

7. On March 17, 2008 in Moscow in the garden of the State Library of Foreign Literature was founded a monument to James Joyce. ( )

8. The ten pound note was issued in September 1993 and last in 2000. The front of the note features James Joyce; the background features Dublin and Wicklow, particularly Dublin Bay.

The back of the note features one of the heads on The Custom House, Dublin by Edward Smyth. The head is one of fourteen and believed to represent the River Liffey. A nineteenth century map and part of “Finnegans Wake" also feature.

The dominant color of the banknote is green. ( )

Top of Form

9. In 1999, Time Magazine named Joyce one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, and stated; "Joyce ... revolutionized 20th century fiction". In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Ulysses No. 1, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man No. 3, and Finnegans Wake No. 77, on its list of the 100 English-language novels of the 20th century. ( )


1.An Introduction to Literary criticism. Richard Dutton, Longman York Press, 1986

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