Thursday, December 29, 2016

James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man published 100 years ago

First posted 7/4/2020; last updated 7/5/2020.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

James Joyce

First Publication: December 29, 1916

Category: semi-autobiographical modernist novel

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“Widely regarded as the greatest stylist of twentieth-century English literature, James Joyce deserves the term ‘revolutionary.’ His literary experiments in form and structure, language and content, signaled the modernist movement and continue to influence writers today.” BNA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the semi-autobiographical portrayal of James Joyce’s early upbringing as an Irish Catholic in late 19th century and early 20th century Dublin.” AZ

“The novel was originally planned as a 63-chapter autobiographical novel in a realistic style entitled ‘Stephen Hero’ however Joyce reworked the novel into five condensed chapters, dispensing with the strict realism which he originally planned in favor of the use of free indirect speech, a narrative style which allows the reader to peer into the developing mind of the protagonist.” AZ

“Young Stephen Dedalus yearns to be an artist, but first must struggle against the forces of church, school, and society, which fetter his imagination and stifle his soul.” BN His life “is depicted from its various stages starting in childhood and moving through early adulthood. The language of the novel changes throughout the book to correspond with the artistic development of Stephen Dedalus as he ages and matures.” AZA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a masterful depiction of the process of self-discovery and rebellion against authority that is indicative of youth, one which would establish Joyce as a central figure of the modernist literary movement.” AZ

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment published 150 years ago this year

Last updated 7/6/2020.

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky

First Publication: 1866

Category: novel/crime story

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“Few authors have been as personally familiar with desperation as Fyodor Dostoevsky, and none have been so adept at describing it.” BN In the two years before he wrote Crime and Punishment, his wife and brother died and the magazine he started with his brother collapsed. To try to get out of debt, he gambled away an advance for an unwritten novel AZ and “had to pawn his clothes and beg friends for loans to pay his hotel bill and get back to Russia. One of his begging letters went to a magazine editor, asking for an advance on yet another unwritten novel – …Crime and Punishment.” AZ

The “tour de force of suspense” BN became “one of the most gripping crime stories of all time” BN and “catapulted Dostoyevsky to the forefront of Russian writers and into the ranks of the world’s greatest novelists. Drawing upon experiences from his own prison days, the author recounts…the story of Raskolnikov, an impoverished student tormented by…the struggle between good and evil.” AZ He “reasons that men like himself, by virtue of their intellectual superiority, can and must transcend societal law. To test his theory, he devises the perfect crime – the murder of a spiteful pawnbroker,” BN “an old woman…whom he regards as…good for nothing.” AZ

Raskolnikov soon realizes the folly of his abstractions. Haunted by vivid hallucinations and the torments of his conscience,” BN he “confesses to the crime and goes to prison. There he realizes that happiness and redemption can only be achieved through suffering. Infused with forceful religious, social, and philosophical elements,” AZCrime and Punishment delineates the theories and motivations that underlie a bankrupt morality.” BN

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In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our August 2018 book.