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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

written by Sudheer Satyanarayana on 2011-09-24

If you are a grammar Nazi, the first thing you might have noticed is the weird capitalization of this blog post's title. It is hard to spot such capitalization of titles in modern publications. I don't know if there's even a name for the style. I personally do not like writing titles with prepositions in lowercase and everything else capitalized. Somehow, a lot of book titles are written in this manner. When the book arrived, I was excited. As soon as I opened the cover, the sight of the title put me off. I thought to myself, "if the title itself is written like this, how would the entire book have been written?". Perhaps, the publisher chose to write the title in that style.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a highly acclaimed autobiographical novel written by James Joyce. Chasing my dream of reading all major literary works in English, I came across Ulysses. I read many reviews of Ulysses. Many readers had recommended getting accustomed to early twentieth century Irish culture and the author's style before reading Ulysses. Thus, I bought A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. The book contains two hundred and thirty four pages. Not a long read. Due to various reasons like busy work schedules and several trivial things in life, I could not pay much attention to the book initially. It took several reading sessions to finish twenty five pages. But the narration and the story was good. Somehow, it took me more than a month to read up to fifty pages. The slow reading was definitely not caused by the book.

The 'hellfire' sermon incident in the story drew my attention. My soul was awakened! From then on, I could not put down the book before reading it completely. The book was published in nineteen sixteen. The punctuation is noticeably different. For example, the author doesn't enclose conversations in quotation marks.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

The narration is steadily engaging. It never slows down. The story gets you thinking about psychology, philosophy, religion, atheism, education and many other topics. It was a pleasant experience reading the book.