Fine autobiography of James Joyce
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 6 years ago
This is a literary classic and should be read by people who wish to be educated in fine literature.
James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 7 years ago
This wonderful work of Joyce really comes alive with the performance which includes singing and piano.
The Hobo Philosopher
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 8 years ago
I bought this book but it took me a long time to get into it. The "Moo-cow" business I didn't get. It seemed so silly and trivial and I, of course, was very, very serious. But one day I don't know why I just sat down and started reading it. Being Irish and Catholic the book became very pertinent in a short number of pages. At the time I read this book I was shocked that somebody should know my personal story and personal thoughts so vividly. I realize now that this is the personal story of a myriad of young Irish Catholic boys. This was a very good book and it tackled some very serious issues regarding faith, religion, and the Catholic Church. This book was partially responsible for my life long interest in reading. Once I understood that the people who wrote books were the people who were speaking my language and translating my thoughts, I was hooked. Books were not all Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland. Books written by Richard Noble - The Hobo Philosopher: "Hobo-ing America: A Workingman's Tour of the U.S.A.." "A Summer with Charlie" "A Little Something: Poetry and Prose" "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother" "The Eastpointer" Selections from award winning column.
An Impressive Display of Writing Genius
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 9 years ago
This is a very entertaining book and not difficult to read. Most book lovers will love the book. In my review below I do not give away the plot. That is left for the reader to discover. I read "Dubliners" and then read the present 250 page book as a warm up to ease into "Ulysses." This is a better book than "Dubliners" and we see the genius of Joyce without being intimidated - as the reader can be with "Ulysses." As a side note, the protagonist Stephen Dedalus has the same name and is similar to one of the three main characters in "Ulysses." If you are looking for a lot of analysis this is probably not the only book to buy. This Signet version contains the story plus Langdon Hammer's 18 page introduction. I avoided reading that first, because it seems to give away most of the key parts, or at least enough that one does not want to read it until later. Overall, I loved the book and thought the analysis was good but short. The book starts with Joyce recalling a few childhood memories, and it will probably stir some memories in the reader as well. He has very colourful descriptions of his parents, relatives, and his teachers, especially various Irish Catholic priests. Is Joyce a genius or just crazy? He seems to have a bit of the crazy streak in him, and perhaps that why the novel is so creative. The prose and writing is among the most impressive that most will ever see. The book contains beautiful descriptions of his childhood, then Catholic schools, and then his college days. The prose and vocabulary is Joyce's own. It is laced with Irish expressions and phrases - not the lengthy descriptive phrases of a Hemingway, but dense, and expressive, sometimes quickly changing as we read. Sometimes it is long and rambling as he describes a scene beside the ocean or brings us into one of his dreams. It is a wonderful experience, and I found myself being thankful that I had decided to read this Joyce novel. It is probably in the top 10 for writing and creativity, weak on structure. People looking for a story and structure will be annoyed as was the person who rejected the first publishing. It is a superb mixture of memories, dreams, and fiction, all blended together. Joyce provides no narration; he writes as if we are watching a movie, mostly going forward in time but not always. The reader is left to sort out the time and place or if it is real or just a dream as we travel from scene to scene through the book. As noted in the analysis, Joyce is in direct contact with the reader. There is nobody in between to guide the reader and explain what it means. You determine that from the dialogue. In any case, we follow him from a young school lad to his college days. We learn of his struggle to whether embrace the Catholic Church and be a priest, or whether to take another path. This is superb writing, and one appreciates why Joyce is famous. As a novel it is a bit lacking but few will notice any flaws.
Not easy but well worth the effort
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 15 years ago
I've seen some reviews that criticize the book for being too stream of consciousness and others for not being s.o.c. enough. The fact is, for the most part it's not s.o.c. at all. (See the Chicago Manual of Style, 10.45-10.47 and note the example they give...Joyce knew how to write s.o.c.). A better word for A Portrait is impressionistic. Joyce is more concerned with giving the reader an impression of Stephen's experience than with emptying the contents of his head. What's confusing is the style mirrors the way Stephen interprets his experiences at the time, according to the level of his mental development. When Stephen is a baby, you get only what comes in through the five senses. When he is a young boy, you get the experience refracted through a prism of many things: his illness (for those who've read Ulysses, here is the beginning of Stephen's hydrophobia - "How cold and slimy the water had been! A fellow had once seen a big rat jump into the scum."), his poor eyesight, the radically mixed signals he's been given about religion and politics (the Christmas meal), his unfair punishment, and maybe most important of all, his father's unusual expressions (growing up with phrases like, "There's more cunning in one of those warts on his bald head than in a pack of jack foxes" how could this kid become anything but a writer?)It is crucial to understand that Stephen's experiences are being given a certain inflection in this way when you come to the middle of the book and the sermon. You have to remember that Stephen has been far from a good Catholic boy. Among other things, he's been visting the brothels! The sermon hits him with a special intensity, so much so that it changes his life forever. Before it he's completely absorbed in the physical: food, sex, etc. After it he becomes just as absorbed in the spiritual/aesthetic world. It's the sermon that really puts him on the track to becoming an artist. One reviewer called the sermon overwrought. Well, of course it's overwrought. That's the whole point. Read it with your sense of humor turned on and keep in mind that you're getting the sermon the way you get everything else in the book: through Stephen. After Stephen decides he doesn't want to be a priest, the idea of becoming an artist really starts to take hold. And when he sees the girl on the beach, his life is set for good. That scene has to be one of the most beautiful in all of literature. After that, Stephen develops his theory of esthetics with the help of Aristotle and Aquinas and we find ourselves moving from one conversation to another not unlike in Plato (each conversation with the appropriate inflection of college boy pomposity). In the end, Stephen asks his "father" to support him as he goes into the real world to create something. I like to think that this is an echo of the very first line in the book. The father, in one of many senses, is the moocow story. The story gave birth to Stephen's imagin