A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Novel by James Joyce
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This work is the precursor of the stream of consciousness novel which attempts, often by means of interior monologue, to capture the exact nature of the flow of mind. The novel, then, is presented as a disjointed story line as though it were recollected at random- in imitation of the haphazard, fragmentary process by which the mind recalls events, people, snatches of conversation and names. About the author: for many critics, james joyce is the most important novelist of the twentieth century. He perfected the stream-of-consciousness monologue; emerged as the most inventive of the experimental novelists; was a polyglot who could pun in a dozen languages; and antagonized his friends because of his egoism, yet could write about characters unlike himself with great compassion. Joyce's life was filled with contrasts: he abandoned his home to become an artist and spent his life in exile writing about the city he had abandoned. He was thought of as a great writer by people who had read little of his work, for his books were banned in english-speaking countries. Though ulysses (1922) was suppressed for its supposed obscenity, few books stress the virtues of family life as strongly. In joyce's early works, the innovative techniques are always subtle, concealed beneath a plain, seemingly conventional story. In his later works, this is no longer true. The reader is immediately aware of the experimental techniques; the prose may seem strange or unusual; and very often the story is difficult or impossible to discern. Ulysses is such a work---a novel with many strata of meaning. On one level, the book tells of the need stephen daedalus has for a father, of leopold bloom's yearning for a son, and of how the two meet. On another level, stephen is telemachus, bloom is odysseus, and their story is a modern "odyssey.

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