Century of Books

My project to read the top 100 English-language books of the twentieth century.

Location: San Francisco, United States

I am an Australian writer and blogger living in San Francisco. Visit my professional site at caitlinfitzsimmons.com, or my travel and food blog at Roaming Tales or my personal blog at The Niltiac Files. I am also on Twitter as @niltiac. See the full list of books or visit me on BookCrossing.

27 January 2006

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I finished A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce this afternoon and felt that I should immediately turn back to page one and start again. I enjoyed the novel and it's not particularly difficult to understand but I had this constant feeling that I was missing something, as if I was only scratching the surface and the true mysteries were buried deep and inaccessible to the uninitiated. I think part of this was because Joyce seems to write for mood and resonance of meaning rather than simple narrative, which of course all good writers do but he seems to do more than most.

The novel is about an artist's childhood, youth and growth into manhood and self realisation as an artist, shaking off the demands of religion and country and family along the way. At times it has some very long passages on the hell fire lectures of his school days or the protagonist's musings on aestheticism but these are quite interesting and obviously pivotal in the character's development. The ending, where the narration switches to first person, is triumphant. I would be interested to know how closely autobiographical the novel is.

28 down, 72 to go...


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