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  4. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


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Last broadcast on Thursday, 21:30 on BBC Radio 4 (see all broadcasts).


Melvyn Bragg and guests Roy Foster, Jeri Johnson and Katherine Mullin discuss A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce's groundbreaking 1916 novel about growing up in Catholic Ireland.

Many novelists choose their own young life as the subject for their first book. But very few have subjected themselves to the intense self-scrutiny of the great Irish novelist James Joyce.

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, published in 1916, Joyce follows his alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, from babyhood to young adulthood. He takes us from Stephen wetting the bed, through a teenage visit to a prostitute, and on through religious terrors to the prospect of freedom. When it was published, the book met with shock at its graphic honesty.

Joyce shows Stephen wrestling with the pressures of his family, his Church and his nation. Yet this was far from being a straightforward youthful tirade. Joyce's novel is also daringly experimental, taking us deep into Stephen's psyche. And since its publication almost a century ago, it has had a huge influence on novelists across the world.

Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History and Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford
Jeri Johnson, Senior Fellow in English at Exeter College, Oxford
Katherine Mullin, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Leeds.


Attridge, Derek, The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce, 2nd edition, (Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Attridge, Derek, Joyce Effects: On Language, Theory, and History (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Ellmann, Richard, James Joyce, Oxford Lives, (Oxford University Press, 1983)

Foster, Roy, Charles Stewart Parnell: The Man and his Family (Harvester Press: Brighton, 1976)

Foster, Roy, Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (Penguin: London, 1988)

Foster, Roy, The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it up in Ireland (Penguin: Oxford, 2002)

Gibson, Andrew, Joyce and the Revenge of History (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Johnson, Jeri, ‘Introduction’, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Kenner, Hugh, Dublin’s Joyce (Columbia University Press, 1987)

Kenner, Hugh, Joyce’s Voices (Columbia University Press, 1979)

Mullin, Katherine, ‘James Joyce and the languages of modernism’ in The Cambridge Companion to the Modernist Novel, ed. by Morag Shiach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Mullin, Katherine, James Joyce, Sexuality and Social Purity (Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Wollaeger, Mark, A., James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Casebook in Criticism Series, (Oxford University Press, 2003)


  1. Thu 26 Nov 2009
  2. Thu 26 Nov 2009

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