Ranked by Modern Library as the third greatest English-Language novel of the 20th Century, "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," is a classic masterpiece by James Joyce, written in the free indirect speech style that he would come to perfect. This novel serves as a semi-autobiographical story of the coming of age of a youth of unusual intelligence and sensitivity and his upbringing in Ireland and the Catholic Church, as well as the emergence of politics and morality.
About the Author
James Augusta Aloysius Joyce was born on February 2, 1882, in Dublin, Ireland, the oldest of ten children in a middle-class family. When he was five, James was attacked by a dog, which left him with a lifelong fear of them. When he was nine, James wrote a poem which his father had published. Later that year, his father lost his job and the family slid into poverty. He attended Jesuit schools for most of his education, but broke from the Catholic religion at the age of sixteen and began studying English, French and Italian at University College Dublin. After graduating, Joyce left for Paris to study medicine, but didn't like it and his father told him to return home when his mother became ill. When she died, he began drinking heavily, scraping a living as a book reviewer, a teacher and a singer, winning a medal in a music festival in 1904, the same year that he married Nora Barnacle. James and Nora ended up in Italy, where he took a position teaching English for ten years. In 1909, Joyce launched the first Irish Cinema, which folded after he left. By 1915, most of his students were drafted to fight in World War I, and he moved to Zurich where he gained a wealthy patron who funded his writing, allowing him to leave teaching. It was during this period that James wrote "Ulysses" and moved to Paris for twenty years. He began to lose his eyesight however, requiring multiple surgeries. In 1941, he underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer and fell into a coma. He did awaken, calling for his family, but he died on January 13, 1941, at the age of 58, in Zurich. He is buried in Fluntern Cemetery in Zurich and is considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century.