Reframing A Portrait of the Artist: Joyce and the Phenomenological Imagination

By Stephen McLaren.

Published by New Directions in the Humanities, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing

Format Price
Book: Electronic $US15.00
Book: Print $US40.00

James Joyce’s attempt to develop a literary aesthetics is well known, while less attention has been paid to the philosophical pursuit of significance in his first novel. The phenomenological perspective of Edmund Husserl, contemporary to literary modernism, elucidates and unites Joyce’s idiosyncratic themes, and helps us understand their philosophical import in a novel that eschews authorial point of view and discursive passages that “stupidly explain.” A complex and challenging Portrait emerges: conceived as a variant on confessional literature, it evolves into a radical investigation of the dimensions of experience, time, and consciousness. Seven perspectival frames are applied in an analysis of Joyce’s development, the work’s inception, and a close reading of the text.

The reframed Portrait is both more socially potent and more likeable than hitherto suspected: a novel that invites us to reflect critically on experience, without preconceptions, and to contemplate possibility.

Book: Electronic (PDF File; 3.900MB). Book: Print (Paperback). Published by New Directions in the Humanities, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing, Illinois.

Dr Stephen McLaren

Stephen McLaren taught literary studies and writing for twenty years in Australian universities: at the University of Western Sydney, Macquarie University, and the University of Wollongong. His research areas of interest include the writing process and theories of imagination. In addition to academia, he worked for several years as a writer of satirical pieces for television, in shows such as Good News Week and Back Berner, and he continues to write creative prose.

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