A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

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Jamie Anderson EL111 The purpose of this essay is to discuss how James Joyce’s seminal novel A Portrait of the Artist as a young man, is experimental with regards to plot, point of view, language, symbolism, style and character development, and will begin with a brief introduction. Many artists, be they of the pen, brush or instrument, seek through innovation an artistic immortality that has the potential to act as a blueprint from which imitation is spawned. Joyce’s Portrait is at its core innovative pioneering prose, and it can be argued that this is rebellion in its purest form. For the reaction of the sensitive, of the artistic, to a society which, once just and familiar, was then in great turmoil, is to turn inwards, question the self, and subsequently sculpt something that is reflective of their artistic impulses and embodies the distrust and rebellion they feel within. Joyce has produced with portrait a stylistically ambitious piece of work that is undoubtedly modernist in its approach, that is to say it has an ambiguity to it that often renders the aforementioned components of the novel incoherent. The modernist’s central preoccupations in regards to the inner self, consciousness, experimentation with form, and the subsequent emancipation from the constraints of the Victorian aesthetics are evident throughout Portrait of an Artist. Incoherency and the desire to confuse through the manipulation of form, is particularly potent regarding the plot of the novel.
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