Conquering the Classics: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce


*Phew* Ok, this book took a lot longer than I had originally anticipated at only 250 pages. Between the two weeks of fevers I just wasn't making progress in this book like I wanted to, and that really hampered my enjoyment of it. Anyway, A Portrait of the Artist is a semi-autobiographical novel about the author James Joyce by way of a fictional alter ego. It's a reflection on religion (a big ol' heaping of Catholic guilt!), esthetics, artistry, poetry, lust, and unrequited love. Although I often have a hard time reading modernist literature (of which the Brothers Karamazov was a precursor), I found the ample poetry in this book to be quite beautiful. I also learned a bit about Ireland and what it was like in the early 1900s- which is when this book was set. I've read a good deal of literature in my life, but I can't recall having read any other Irish authors. I'll be interested to see how I enjoy the other Joyce work on my list, the infamous Ulysses- I hear it's a doozy. But despite my troubles I truly enjoyed this book.

Are you not weary of ardent ways,
Lure of the fallen seraphim?
Tell no more of enchanted days.

Your eyes have set man’s heart ablaze
And you have had your will of him.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?

Above the flame the smoke of praise
Goes up from ocean rim to rim.
Tell no more of enchanted days.

Our broken cries and mournful lays
Rise in one eucharistic hymn.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?

While sacrificing hands upraise
The chalice flowing to the brim,
Tell no more of enchanted days.

And still you hold our longing gaze
With languorous look and lavish limb!
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
Tell no more of enchanted days.

My rating:
Although I wanted to proceed down my list alphabetically I'm joining an online book club that is going to read War and Peace. Before that starts I'm going to give myself a break and try to crank out the Time Machine!


  1. Wow you are knocking so many of these out!! Go Lauren! I LOVE reading about Ireland.. have you read Angela's Ashes by any chance? I just recently read it (not sure how I missed it years ago) and liked it enough that I read binge read everything else that the author had written.


    1. I haven't read it yet but I've been meaning to for YEARS! That is going in my Kindle library ASAP.

  2. Ahh I think blogger ate my comment.. so sorry if this is a repeat.

    I am so glad to hear that I wasn't the only one who missed out when it first came out and is just now enjoying it. PLEASE read it and let me know what you think?!