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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce
Joyce’s semi-autobiographical chronicle of Stephen Dedalus’ passage from university student to "independent" artist, is at once a richly detailed, amusing, and moving coming-of-age story, a tour de force of style and technique, and a profound examination of the Irish psyche and society.

Stephen Dedalus is 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 Künstlerroman (an artist’s Bildungsroman) in English literature. Joyce’s novel traces the intellectual and religio-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 Finnegans 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.
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