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Editorial Reviews

With a rough-hewn Irish accent, John Lee narrates this classic novel by Ireland's favorite son. Joyce's first novel, this bildungsroman is nothing like his more daunting Ulysses, but it still shows the wide range of style and tone he used in his writing. Narrating any Joyce text is a demanding task, but Lee pulls it off expertly, not trying to make unique voices for characters, but melding them into a coherent overall narration. Americans not accustomed to an Irish accent may need some time to get used to this narration, but it's worth the effort as Lee's delivery certainly provides the local color of this timeless novel.
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Publisher's Summary

Perhaps James Joyce's most personal work, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man depicts the intellectual awakening of one of literature's most memorable young heroes, Stephen Dedalus. Through a series of brilliant epiphanies that parallel the development of his own aesthetic consciousness, Joyce evokes Stephen's youth, from his impressionable years as the youngest student at the Clongowed Wood school to the deep religious conflict he experiences at a day school in Dublin, and finally to his college studies, where he challenges the conventions of his upbringing and his understanding of faith and intellectual freedom.
Joyce's highly autobiographical novel was first published in the United States in 1916 to immediate acclaim. Ezra Pound accurately predicted that Joyce's book would "remain a permanent part of English literature", while H. G. Wells dubbed it "by far the most important living and convincing picture that exists of an Irish Catholic upbringing".
©1923 Public Domain (P)2008 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Tad Davis on 10-07-08

Good, but a little rushed

This is a good (not great) reading of a great book. I normally enjoy John Lee a great deal, but I see two problems here. First, the narrator's Irish accent is a little heavy-handed: more obviously "Irish" than that of other narrators of the book. (John Lee may be as Irish as Donal Donnelly for all I know; but I'm pretty sure "Howth" does NOT rhyme with "mouth." My conclusion, which I admit may be wrong, is that he's trying just a little too hard.) Second, much of it seems rushed. There's a crucial scene at the end of Chapter 3 when Stephen Dedalus visits a priest and makes confession. The priest is sorrowful, bemused, maybe a little jaded as he listens to Stephen's account of his well-developed erotic life; but Lee romps through the confessional dialogue with the same speed and energy he uses for the boyhood conversations on the football field.

Clearly there's soemthing subjective about this. I see from the other listings that the recording is about the same length as Jim Norton's; I would have said it was at least an hour shorter if not more. So I may not be articulating the real problem. I enjoyed it; it's certainly never dull; but I can't quite give it five stars.

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18 of 19 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 11-19-12

A Modernist Monster Maul, a Literary 'Godevil'

Joyce is otherworldly. It is hard to even judge his early stuff against itself. He seems to have been born a master of language and art. Most authors would be happy to end their careers with 'Dubliners' and 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.' For Joyce, these are just the beginning of his journey. This novel, more than any other, is a modernist monster maul, a literary 'godevil' that splits all readers. IT is impossible to interact with Joyce and not love him or hate him. Anyway, I loved Portrait of an Artist. I loved it all.

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15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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