Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Review: Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man



Portrait is certainly more accessible than Ulysses or Finnegans Wake, but it lacks the delightful wordplay and zany, ambitious flights that leave the reader in wonderment. It has its obscure parts (of course, it's Joyce), but for the most part chronicles Stephen Dedalus's life from young childhood through college, recording everything that influenced him.

Some of these influences were recorded in more meticulous detail than makes for entertainment. For instance, the long, long passage giving the priest's sermon on sin and Hell was a flawless rendition of a classic fire and brimstone harangue.  To describe it is to describe the problem with it.

I thought I had read this in college, but listening to the audio version made me wonder.  If I did read it, I deserved a very bad grade for comprehension and retention.

2 comments :

Rebecca Reid said...

Once again, your review has captured my interest with phrases like "delightful wordplay and zany, ambitious flightst." I realize I must read Joyce. I've read some of his stories, but none of his novels.

Thank you, also, for the links in the side bar: I, too, wasted some valuable reading time today playing with lists on the Lists of Bests site.

Rose City Reader said...

Thanks Rebecca!

Sorry that I didn't get back to you about the difference between LibraryThing and Shelfari or GoodReads. I can't say with much intelligence, since I don't use the last two. I prefer LT, because I am familiar with it. It also seems to me that more people use LT, so the group discussions are very lively.

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