A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the first novel of Irish writer James Joyce. A Künstlerroman in a modernist style, it traces the intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to Daedalus, the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology. Stephen questions and rebels against the Catholic and Irish conventions under which he has grown, culminating in his self-exile from Ireland to Europe. The work uses techniques that Joyce developed more fully in Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). A Portrait began life in 1903 as Stephen Hero-a projected 63-chapter autobiographical novel in a realistic style. After 25 chapters, Joyce abandoned Stephen Hero in 1907 and set to reworking its themes and protagonist into a condensed five-chapter novel, dispensing with strict realism and making extensive use of free indirect speech that allows the reader to peer into Stephen's developing consciousness. American modernist poet Ezra Pound had the novel serialised in the English literary magazine The Egoist in 1914 and 1915, and published as a book in 1916 by B. W. Huebsch of New York. The publication of A Portrait and the short story collection Dubliners (1914) earned Joyce a place at the forefront of literary modernism.
The eight short stories of this collection have a dual theme: Ireland - its people, its personality - and woman - woman betrayed, or sacrificed, innocence involuntarily lost, happiness stolen or mislaid.
A book, delving into the intricacies of a love triangle but only to a superficial degree. This might make it brilliant as the depth of a relationship seemed to be high on the agenda of O'Brien if not that of her characters. All flawed, they are unable to have 1:1 relationships, perhaps as there is something missing that they can't fix, and require a third person to fill the gaps and plaster over the cracks.
"there was something tongue-tied, twisted, and unhappy in her. she had a curious, raw, almost timid smile as though she thought people only intended to hurt her." - in the midst of the teasing, knowing narrative voice of frank o'connor stories there always seems to be an acknowledgement of pain and loss.
Harry Fielding is a shabby, solitary, but basically cheerful sort, living in a seamy flat in London and subsisting on a diet of gin and pre-packed airline meals in unmarked silver containers. He also works for M15. Surveillance, protection, the occasional rough-and-tumble just enough to keep body and soul together. However, when Harry witnesses Lisa, his next-door neighbour, killing and burying her sister's violent husband, he begins to lose his appetite. And when his routine shadowing of a cabinet minister and his mistress ends in her death by kitchen knife, he goes off his food entirely. Harry, the crooked man, decides to go straight.
"Nothing is Black" is a beautifully told story of three women who find themselves in a remote part of Donegal at a defining moment in their lives. Wealthy and successful, Nuala has everything except the peace of mind she so desperately needs. She has come to stay with her cousin Claire, who leads a solitary life as a painter. Anna, Claire's neighbour, longs for a reconciliation with her estranged daughter. Through their stories, Deirdre Madden explores the themes of friendship, family and the nature of creativity, confirming her reputation as one of Ireland's most talented writers.
'Don't you think there is a certain resemblance between the mystery of the Mass and what I am trying to do? ...To give people some kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of everyday life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own' - James Joyce, in a letter to his brother. With these fifteen stories James Joyce reinvented the art of fiction, using a scrupulous, deadpan realism to convey truths that were at once blasphemous and sacramental. Whether writing about the death of a fallen priest ("The Sisters"), the petty sexual and fiscal machinations of "Two Gallants," or of the Christmas party at which an uprooted intellectual discovers just how little he really knows about his wife ("The Dead"), Joyce takes narrative places it had never been before.