Synopses & Reviews
2011 Reprint of 1916 Edition. This is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce that describes the formative years of the life of Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology, Daedalus. A novel written in Joyce's characteristic free indirect speech style, "A Portrait" is a major example of the Kunstlerroman (an artist's Bildungsroman) in English literature. Joyce's novel traces the intellectual and religious-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic and Irish conventions with which he has been raised. He finally leaves for abroad to pursue his ambitions as an artist. The work is an early example of some of Joyce's modernist techniques that would later be represented in a more developed manner by "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake." The novel, which has had a huge influence on novelists across the world, was ranked by Modern Library as the third greatest English-language novel of the 20th century.