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By James Joyce

Masterpiece of semi-autobiographical fiction unearths a strong portrait of the arrival of age of a tender guy of surprising intelligence, sensitivity, and personality. Telling portrayals of an Irish upbringing and education, the Catholic Church and its priesthood, Parnell and Irish politics, sexual experimentation and its aftermath, and issues of paintings and morality.

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Extra resources for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Dover Thrift Edition)

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This display of character softened Budd舗s resentment, at least for a while. He proposed to lend Conan Doyle a pound a week to help him set up a practice in Portsmouth. Once Conan Doyle moved to that city to restart his medical career, Budd reneged on the payment. He wrote to Conan Doyle, quoting what he considered slanderous passages from a letter of Conan Doyle舗s mother, which he claimed the maid had found torn in pieces under the grate. This kind of back-stabbing carried on under his roof was a betrayal he couldn舗t forgive, said Budd.

Several other times he violates the law himself in order to bring about some higher justice. Those are some of the things we admire about him. Because we always agree with his judgment in those instances, his willingness to become the final arbiter of justice makes him heroic. Holmes lives as a gentleman, with all the notions of class in nineteenth-century England that the word implies. Yet he does things no gentleman would dream of doing. On one occasion he disguises himself as a beggar, on another as an opium addict, and, most improbably of all, on another as an old woman!

Devoting his life to fighting crime, for instance, is surely unusual. With his skills and connections, one would think he could have had his choice of careers. What sort of person dedicates himself to catching people who commit crimes? We don舗t need a psychiatrist舗s shingle to conclude that someone who feels this need must have suffered some sort of injustice as a child. As we can never know what this sad event was, we can only speculate, and many have. Whatever it was, it has made Holmes a moralist.

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