I was not looking forward to another James Joyce novel, however, I was able to enjoy parts of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Most notable of my reading enjoyment was the vivid descriptions of hell that surely those raised Catholic could relate to as could readers of Dante’s Inferno. It nearly sent me to the confessional!
Perhaps I’m falling into a literary mindset, but there were several lines in this book worth quoting, so here goes…
“This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. I shall express myself as I am.”
“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.”
Since I like to imagine meeting the authors, I’m afraid I still don’t think I’d be fond of Mr. Joyce, even in his younger years. His insinuations that his fellow students were beneath him intellectually left a bad taste. While I applaud his courage for change, a part of me sees it also as a possible cop out, but perhaps I took affront at his maternal indifference.
On my scale, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man rates a 7 out of 10.
Check out the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.