James Joyce’s first published novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), recounts Stephen Dedalus’s struggle to understand and then break free of family, church, and country. The journey of this representative young artist is a growing apart or wrenching away from increasingly imprisoning influences, in Stephen’s case, from an economically impoverished home, a theologically impoverished Catholic Church, and the politically impoverished nationalism of Irish independence. Crucial here is that familial, religious, and national “railings” that first fascinate and...
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