Stephen Dedalus' philosophy of art, expressed in his discussion with Lynch in Chapter Five, seems essentially romantic, yet the novel is written in a very realistic mode typical of the twentieth century. This apparent inconsistency may direct us to one way of interpreting this novel. Dedalus' idea of art may be Romantic, but because his world is no longer the world of the Romantics he has to see art more as a fundamental validation of his own being than as a communication of a special vision.
Two aspects of Romanticism figure into this analysis of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. First, the Romantics' defining belief in some connection between the human spirit and some higher purpose, and their belief in art's capacity to serve as the vehicle to connect the human with the divine, is the philosophical underpinning of Dedalus' esthetic theory. Second, however, the Romantics also believed that they were communicating in the words of the people, to the hearts of the people, and this Dedalus cannot quite believe he can do. He senses inchoately that communication of the Romantic vision to a modern world is impossible.
Therefore, Dedalus' difficult coming of age as an artist, and perhaps Joyce's, records the essentially romantic, Platonic soul, struggling to emerge from the oppressive realities of the mundane world. The Platonic soul has to reject that world because it is not divine, as the Romantics rejected the Enlightenment scientific worldview, but whereas the Romantics of Wordsworth's age could believe their role was to communicate this truth through poetry to "the people," Stephen Dedalus can only withdraw from the world into abstruse theory, or a l...
... middle of paper ...
...religion, its politics, its poverty, its people.
So when Dedalus finally pronounces his break from his whole upbringing, it is for this reason: his Romantic soul doesn't comport very well with his realist's understanding of the world. Since he cannot believe, as Wordsworth did, that the spiritually starved masses were waiting out there for his pronouncement of a Grand Vision, he does the only thing he can&emdash;he opts out:
I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use&emdash;silence, exile, and cunning. (247)
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: NewAmerican Library, 1991.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Esthetic Theory and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus defines beauty and the artist's comprehension of his/her own art. Stephen uses his esthetic theory with theories borrowed from St. Thomas Aquinas and Plato. The discourse can be broken down into three main sections: 1) A definitions of beauty and art. 2) The apprehension and qualifications of beauty. 3) The artist's view of his/her own work. I will explain how the first two sections of his esthetic theory relate to Stephen.... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
1409 words (4 pages)
- James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce, exemplifies the model of art it proposes as it also offers the reader on how to read that very art. Following the main character, Stephen Dedalus, through life, Joyce uses Stephen’s immediate perception to convey how an artist views the world. The reader witnesses Stephen encountering everyday aspects of life as art—the words of a language lesson as poetry or the colors of a rose as beautiful.... [tags: James joyce portrait Artist Young Man Essays]
2573 words (7.4 pages)
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man The mind wanders, on occasion, through many processions of thought. When at the beginning of this text, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, I found it difficult to follow young Stephen's meandering thoughts with any semblance of comprehension until I finished reading the novel. I then began to research the novel and Joyce and realized the significance of these seemingly random thoughts. These are the thoughts of a budding artist in infancy.... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
417 words (1.2 pages)
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Silence, exile, and cunning."- these are weapons Stephen Dedalus chooses in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And these, too, were weapons that its author, James Joyce, used against a hostile world. Like his fictional hero, Stephen, the young Joyce felt stifled by the narrow interests, religious pressures, and political squabbles of turn-of-the-century Ireland. In 1904, when he was twenty-two, he left his family, the Roman Catholic Church, and the "dull torpor" of Dublin for the European continent to become a writer.... [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]
2430 words (6.9 pages)
- Soul of the Artist in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man As James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man unfolds, protagonist Stephen Dedalus' personal vision grows closer and closer to that of an "artist." Stephen attempts throughout the story to understand the inspiration he receives while being tormented by influences that seem to distract him. Stephen's thoughtful approach to his experiences, brings him through his tormented youth to a refined understanding of his feelings about art.... [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]
2952 words (8.4 pages)
- The Artist as Hero in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce is a partly autobiographical account of the author's life growing up. The novel chronicles the process through which the main character, Stephen, struggles against authority and religious doctrine to develop his own philosophies on life. Stephen is not necessarily rebelling against God and his father as much as he is finding his own person, creating his own life. He is an artist, not because of the outcome of his life, but because of the process he goes through to achieve that outcome. The artist is a hero because of the sacrifices he makes, the persecution he e... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
1298 words (3.7 pages)
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Artistic Development A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man had various themes which covered many areas. The primary theme of the novel is the artistic development of the artist, Stephen, and this relates specifically to the artist’s development in the life of a national language. Stephen experiences many voices of Ireland as well as those of the writers of his education. Out of all these voices emerges Stephen’s aesthetic theory and his desire to find his own manner of expression.... [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]
608 words (1.7 pages)
- James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man presents an account of the formative years of aspiring author Stephen Dedalus. "The very title of the novel suggests that Joyce's focus throughout will be those aspects of the young man's life that are key to his artistic development" (Drew 276). Each event in Stephen's life -- from the opening story of the moocow to his experiences with religion and the university -- contributes to his growth as an artist. Central to the experiences of Stephen's life are, of course, the people with whom he interacts, and of primary importance among these people are women, who, as his story progresses, prove to be a driving force behind Stephen's art.... [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]
2504 words (7.2 pages)
- Religion and Its Effect on Stephen in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Religion is an important and recurring theme in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Through his experiences with religion, Stephen Dedalus both matures and progressively becomes more individualistic as he grows. Though reared in a Catholic school, several key events lead Stephen to throw off the yoke of conformity and choose his own life, the life of an artist. Religion is central to the life of Stephen Dedalus the child.... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
1194 words (3.4 pages)
- The pandying scene from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is, in many ways, fairly typical of a coming-of-age story. A child or young adolescent discovers himself in a situation in which he is in conflict with the adults around him, and the situation resolves traumatically for the child. What is unusual about Stephen's experience is that he refuses to allow Father Dolan, a person of clear authority, to have the last word. By going to the rector and asserting his right to be treated fairly, humanely, and justly, Stephen as an artist-to-be reclaims authority over his own conscience.... [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]
711 words (2 pages)
- Failure in a Success Oriented Society in Death of a Salesman
- A Comparison of Beowulf and Icelandic Sagas
- An Analysis of Birches
- Character Analysis of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire
- Sweetheart of the Song of Tra Bong as Metaphor
- Essay on Blanche DuBois as Butterfly in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire