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3.14.2016

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Just finished reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  Cannot tell you how hard this book hit me, and I really wasn't expecting that.  What  I mean to say is that it was very very good.  And I can't even explain how.  I suppose that the main character is very sensitive.  And the stream of consciousness writing makes for an intimate connection with him, the way that he will stream into thoughts about a playmate amidst a dinner with his family, or something like that.


Read a little bit about the life of James Joyce.  Was it as fruitful as his writing?  I found it so sad that he only has one living heir, a grandson, who is now about 85 years old.  His daughter spent much of her later life in a mental institution.

Was it difficult to live the life of James Joyce or a relative of?  I can't quite put my finger on how famous he became in his life--perhaps he wasn't considered quite literary enormity that he is today (did it take some time to appreciate his work?), although he was quite well known, considering that the NYT did an obituary for him when he died.

And it was a sad book, hard to read about his encounter with a prostitute when he was only 14, his families' descent into poverty, his bit of a ne'er do well father.  Hm, some the family passages tho seem quite funny and personable, is there a lot of humanity in this story?

The passages where he relates the priests' lecture on hell--OMG so hilarious in retrospect.  This passage goes on for PAGES!  Undoubtedly an exaggeration from Joyce's actual experience.

Joyce's retelling of his religious experiences leave me with the impression that, although he formally leaves the Church, that at some level he's very much in love with it, and that were he to experience many of the changes from Vatican II (particularly to the liturgy, but perhaps the overall change in the Church) he would have been left broken hearted.

I'm wary of reading too many reviews of this book or of Joyce b/c that might ruin the book for me, and turn it into some intellectual exercise.

He mentioned Charles Stewart Parnell several times in the book; a politician who advocated for Irish Home Rule.  Read that the Vatican sided with the England and against Irish self-rule and this impacted Joyce's view on Catholicism (possibly a factor in his decision to leave the church).

A great example for why the pope really needs to not put his foot into partisan politics.  He's really in a pastoral position--and taking sides in a partisan argument will alienate people from Church, which should be all-inclusive.

Which makes Francis' statements about Trump even more disconcerting.

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