A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story by James Joyce, published in 1916. It is the story of the growth and education of Stephen Dedalus, an alter-ego for Joyce. The work pioneers some of Joyce's modernist techniques that would later come to fruition in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

The prime example of the Künstlerroman in the English literature, Joyce's novel traces the intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic conventions of which he is brought up in.

The book is most noted for its stream of consciousness style that sets out to write exactly what the protagonist is thinking. Since the work covers the author aging from a young child to a man the style of the work is very different in each of its five sections, with the complexity and vocabulary gradually increasing. Stylistically, the novel is mostly written as a third person narrative, though towards the end of the book dialogue and finally journal entries by Stephen are relied on instead to mirror his alienation from society.

The book is set in Joyce's native Ireland, especially in Dublin. It deals with many Irish issues such as the quest for autonomy and the role of the Catholic church.

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