A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man
- Wordsworth Editions Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 05 May 1992
- Modern & Contemporary
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[Review of the Naxos Unabridged Audiobook Edition]I'm trying something new for me with listening to Irish narrators read James Joyce and this audiobook edition of his "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" performed by actor Jim Norton was a terrific start to this. Norton's performance of the narration along with his singing of all the musical rhymes and lyric sections bumps this up to a 5/5 rating with the 1 hour long section of 'hell and damnation' sermons delivered at Stephen Dedalus's Belvedere College alone worth the price of admission and quite chilling to boot. Joyce's stream-of-consciousness style may be a bit hard to follow aurally though and I did find myself referring to my old paperback copy frequently and still looking up some of the more obscure Irish and Latin references (easy to do on-line these days) but those are minor quibbles. 2012 is a big year for Joyce fans with his works entering the public domain and already one test case (google "The Cats of Copenhagen") of someone breaking grandson Stephen Joyce's previous publishing embargoes, so if you've been intimidated by Joyce previously, consider trying out an audiobook version.
Another one of those I tried to read in High School and just couldn't finish. When I sat down as a grown-up and rea it, I cursed myself for waiting so long. Beautiful, captivating, and a great introduction to Joyce, who's not exactly an easy read overall. He's worth it though.
Loved it. I feel disappointed that I found myself relating to Stephen: I think Stephen is kind of an asshole. Then again, I am kind of an asshole. Most young people are. "Smithy of my soul..." = beautifulLovely reverberations. I'd love to write a book with a centrifuge, wakes and reverberations like a finger to a puddle.
The 1920s Modern Library edition I read - thus the plain green cover shown here - had no ISBN or LC classification, so I've kept the Penguin Classics paperback data. Someone donated the yellowed volume to the library where I work - with excellent penciled-in margin notes, part of a class assignment of yore no doubt. I read this - or I think I read it - years ago. Maybe I just read parts of it. This time around (2009) most of it seemed new to me. I might as well have not read it at all before. So I've had the interesting experience of, effectively speaking, getting introduced to it after having spent years with Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. The very pleasing result of that is to accept it on its own merits, and not simply as a stepping stone on Joyce's way to those later works. According to Joyce's own aesthetics as explained herein, it is a lyric work, really not to be compared to the epic Ulyssess and the dramatic FW. Unquestionably his "stream of consciousness" technique expanded in scope after the Portrait. But those later developments of the technique wouldn't have fit appropriately into this earlier lyric world.The book itself, then, considered as it is by itself, is a masterpiece. The power and beauty of the writing, the devastating honesty of the author's self-portrait, the marvels of style as we hear Stephen's language change through the years, the surging presentations of religious excess, the daring temporal jump-cuts, the substitution of hyphens for quotation marks that further interiorizes each page - superb!Except for my praise, I have nothing new to add to the thousands of reviews written through the decades about this book. I keep the book on my desk. I pick it up regularly, opening it at random to a page, and deriving great pleasure from it. It's so rare to be able to enjoy craftsmanship at this level of inspired excellence.
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