The Failed Revolts of Stephen Dedalus: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Nietzschean Self-Overcoming

by James McAdams, Lehigh University

In Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce portrays Stephen Dedalus as an ambitious, rebellious, and cultural critic hostile to his native Ireland’s naïve convictions in religion, language and family.  In these ways, Stephen, at least superficially, endorses and aims to follow Nietzsche’s model of der Ubermensch, or philosopher of the future, who will escape nihilism by creating his own identity and his own meaning through art.  During the time Portrait was composed, Nietzsche was incredibly popular among the youthful artists of Dublin, and Joyce, as has been demonstrated in many passages in The Dubliners, was foremost among them in his admiration of Nietzsche.  However, a critical reading of the novel shows that by the time he had composed it, Joyce’s understanding of Nietzschean self-overcoming had become embittered.  Therefore, Stephen’s hopeful gloating throughout the novel about escaping Ireland and creating himself as he would a work of art become ironic and facile.  Through an analysis of four crucial, recurring scenes, we can see Joyce lampooning him as a failed Ubermensch, a failed artist and rebel whom readers meet again 8 years in later in the opening pages of Ulysses, waking late to yet another fruitless day as a provincial school teacher.

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“Did that explain his friend’s listless silence, his harsh comments, the sudden intrusions of rude speech with which he had shattered so often Stephen’s ardent wayward confessions”? ( 252; emphasis added)
“We can destroy only as creators.”  (Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 122 )


One of the most prominent and debated issues surrounding James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man concerns the degree to which the author ironizes about Stephen Dedalus’ revolt and (attempted) self-overcoming in the novel. Unlike traditional Bildrungsromanen, in which the protagonist unequivocally manifests an increase in maturity and intelligence, Portrait fades out in the terminal journal sequences, leaving the astute reader skeptical about Stephen’s putative self-transformation as he leaves Ireland for Paris.  Friedrich Nietzsche, whose ideas regarding artistic self-creation and rebellion receive sustained attention in the novel, exercised a major influence on the young Joyce, and considering how the novel reflects on his philosophy resolves questions about the nature of Joyce’s depiction of Stephen.  By exploring how Stephen fails to successfully implement Nietzsche’s injunction to “become who you are,” Portrait demonstrates how Joyce uses the philosopher’s insights regarding the development of the self to ridicule his alter ego’s vacillating desires and youthful ambitions.

Joyce’s early and abiding interest in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche has been commented on by a number of scholars.  Richard Ellmann writes that Joyce “came to know the writings of Nietzsche in 1903,” just months before he left for Europe (Ellmann 142).  While in Trieste, Joyce obtained, in English translations, The Case of Wagner, The Birth of Tragedy, and The Gay Science.  Furthermore, as Neil Davison explains, “by 1902, Nietzsche’s ideas had become ubiquitous in the intellectual world of Dublin, especially through the influence of W. B. Yeats. And by 1905, Joyce had included Thus Spoke Zarathustra and The Gay Science as favorite reading of Mr. James Duffy in the story ‘A Painful Case’” (Davison).

Nietzsche’s impact on “A Painful Case” is more complicated than Joyce’s simple shout-out. Mr. James Duffy shares a significant number of biographical details with Joyce: the first names are equivalent and each last name consists of five letters; Duffy has a notebook on his desk labeled “Blue Beans,” while Joyce had one labeled “Epiphanies”; the woman in the story, Mrs. Sinico, shares a name with Joyce’s singing teacher in Trieste; finally, Duffy even has a translated copy of Michael Kramer, as did Joyce.  Writing of these correspondences, Hugh Kenner effectively puns, “Mr. Duffy is ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Bank-Clerk’” (Kenner, 178).

More importantly, Joyce, who as we have seen shared characteristics with Duffy, portrays this character as a failure, a lonely, feckless intellectual whose overly rational approach to life results in the kind of stultification one finds throughout The Dubliners.[i] “By making Mr. Duffy an admirer of Nietzsche,” Davison argues perceptively, “and yet a paralyzed, unfulfilled man, Joyce suggests that Duffy is merely a self-deluded ‘straw’ Übermensch … Joyce’s ironic use of Zarathustra’s message demonstrates the depth of his pre-1909 understanding of a central Nietzschean concept” (Davison).[ii]  Thus, it is necessary to remember that, while he was drafting what would become Portrait a decade later, Joyce was writing a story about a character failing to live up to Nietzschean ideals, a character who “had neither companions nor friends, church nor creed” (“A Painful Case,” 109).   Significantly, James Duffy is neither a simple case-study of a Nietzsche-inspired intellectual, nor a literary Doppelganger for James Joyce, but rather a reflection of a cultural movement inspired by the German philosopher’s flamboyant and influential ideas.

In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Nietzsche published in quick succession The Gay Science, Thus Sprach Zarathustra, and Beyond Good and Evil, among other influential philosophical works.  In these remarkable texts, he emerged as a Zukunft-Philosoph, a philosopher of the future who overturned the shibboleths of traditional philosophy and religion, exposing them as errors.  Later twentieth-century philosophers were to perceive these moves, denoted by such memorable phrases as “The Death of God,” “The Twilight of the Idols,” “The Perspectival Theory of Truth,” “The Will to Power,” “Transvaluation of all Values,” and “How to Become Who You Are,” as anticipating ab initio the arguments and theoretical approaches of both existentialism and postmodernism.

In The Gay Science, Nietzsche writes at great length about what he conceives of as the new type of artist or philosopher who will emerge from the moribund and decadent culture of post-1848 Europe.  This superior type of person, or der Ubermensch, Nietzsche writes, requires that one “gives style one’s character.  However, there can be both advantages and disadvantages to this practice.  As he elaborates:

[Giving style] is practiced by those who survey all the strengths and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic plan until every one of them appears as art and reason and even weakness delight the eye…It will be the strong and domineering natures that enjoy their finest gaiety in such constraint and perfection under a law of their own…Conversely, it is the weak characters without power over themselves that hate the constraints of style. (Nietzsche, The Gay Science,  231-232).

As a consequence of giving style to one’s character, Nietzsche predicts that these types would need to revolt against convention, create through destruction, and become exiles and “Good Europeans.”

However, Nietzsche was aware that these ambitions were hard to accomplish, and furthermore might be dangerous in the hands of the wrong people.  In an early section of Thus Sprach Zarathustra entitled “On the Tree on the Mountainside,” Zarathustra counsels a young man he finds “leaning against a tree, looking wearily into the valley” (Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 154).  The young man, he learns, is disconsolate over his inability to become der Ubermensch.  “I no longer trust myself since I aspire to the height,” the youth ejaculates, “and nobody trusts me anymore; how did this happen? I change too fast: my today refutes my yesterday … How I mock at my violent panting!  How I hate the flier!” (154-155).”  As they walk together, Zarathustra tells the young man that he had worried about this danger, and stresses the difficulty of self-overcoming and attaining freedom.  Zarathustra then explains to the young man what is preventing him from attaining freedom and recounts examples of others who have failed:

It tears my heart.  Better than your words tell it, your eyes tell me of all your dangers. You are not yet free, you still search for freedom.  You are worn from your search and over-awake. You aspire to the free heights, your soul thirsts for the stars.  But your wicked instincts, too, thirst for freedom.  Your wild dogs wants freedom; they bark with joy in their cellar when your spirit plans to open all prisons.  To me you are still a prisoner plotting his freedom: alas, in such prisoners the soul becomes clever, but also deceitful and bad…I knew noble men who lost their highest hope. Then they slandered a all higher hopes. Then they lived impudently in brief pleasures and barely cast their goals beyond the day. Spirit too is lust, so they said.  Then the wings of their spirit broke: and now their spirit crawls about and soils what it gnaws.  (155-156)

The following section will relate these warnings and signs of failure to four major themes in Portrait.  These scenes are central to the question of Stephen’s self-overcoming in the novel, and correlate most strongly with the portions of Nietzsche’s philosophy adduced above.  Ultimately, they will show that Joyce “mocks at Stephen’s violent panting.”


Scholarship surrounding the issue of irony and satire in the depiction of Stephen Dedalus revolves around four major themes or narrative incidents.  The first involves questioning the aesthetic value of the villanelle “Are You Not Weary of Ardent Ways?” This poem belies all the sophisticated modernist aesthetic theories Stephen pontificates about at, relying instead on standard meter and prosody to express his “revolutionary” feelings.  The hackneyed nature of this poem further exemplifies the chasm between the grandiloquence of Stephen’s self-esteem and his actual poetic output by the end of Portrait (or the end of Ulysses, for that matter).  Discussing the dichotomy between Stephen’s aesthetic ambitions and social inadequacies in Portrait (especially relating to Emma), James Naremore observes,

even in his later “artistic” phase Stephen is continuing to react against what he regards as “common and insignificant” reality, continuing to pare his fingernails above what he no doubt feels are the base and dirty aspects of life.  He hopes to escape into the free, pure air of art; but until he recognizes that no life is completely isolate, until he learns to accept and properly criticize his actual experience, he cannot be a poet or even a mature individual … In other words, Stephen’s theories are an elaborate defense mechanism, a withdrawal from life.  (121-122)

Stephen’s over-sophistication and increasing inwardness is another element educed to prove that irony occupies the heart of Portrait.  Paul Farkas states this well in writing “as Stephen turns more inward, he appears more ludicrous; there is the suggestion that the increase in subjectivity necessarily removes the observer from the truth.  In this interpretation, Stephen appears the greatest fool and ends up locked in a world of purely subjective impressions” (Farkas 29).  The term “precocious” carries a connotation of adorability or harmlessness, and it’s difficult to avoid these reactions when Stephen discourses on the nature of “pity” and “terror,” or the triune aesthetics of Aquinas, all while he is afraid to even speak to the girl he loves or devise more than even a few derivative stanzas of poetry.  The more Stephen ratiocinates about the nature of art, the less he creates any original art. Stephen himself seems sadly aware of this when he stands on the steps of the library surrounded by swooping birds whose squawking allows him to forget his “mother’s sobs and reproaches” (Portrait, 244). During this mini-epiphany, he recalls “Swedenborg on the correspondences of birds to things of the intellect and of how the creatures of the air have their knowledge and know their times and seasons because they, unlike man, are in the order of their life and have not perverted that order by reason” (244).

The final two points to be discussed in the context of Portrait’s irony are inter-linked.  The first involves the wave-like pattern of the novel, in which every epiphanic crest is shortly followed by the dashing of dreams, as Stephen is brought back to earth Within the five-part structure of Portrait, each chapter terminates on an epiphanic high later counter-balanced by a  low opening in the subsequent chapters. If the structure of Portrait  is bivalent, then, consisting of up/down dyads, then Joyce intentionally suggests a necessary “down” to the “up” of April 26 and April 27[iii] by excluding the (arithmetically implied) sixth section.  Paul Farkas notes the foreshadowing of the sixth chapter by writing pithily: “if Portrait had a sixth chapter, we would undoubtedly see Stephen’s creation discovered as an illusion” (Farkas, 32).  As many have argued, the absent sixth chapter is certainly interpretable as the first chapter of Ulysses, in which Stephen, who is poor, debauched, lustful, and no more of a poet than ever, is described, as pointed out by Hugh Kenner, as “one who will fall into cold water, like Icarus or Oscar Wilde.  (That is one reason Ulysses described him as ‘hydrophobe’) [183].”  Robert Ryf agrees with this reading, asserting that

Stephen is clearly Icarus, not Dedulus.  We are given a hint of this at the end of the Portrait, when Stephen, preparing for flight, invokes his ‘father,’ Dedulus.  In Ulysses, Stephen directly identifies himself as this fallen son: ‘Icarus, Pater, ait.’ Seabedabbled, fallen weltering. Lapwing you are.  (158)

The above four arguments have been commonplaces of Joyce criticism for almost a century and have been employed and refuted by almost all critics engaged in the fight over the question of irony in Portrait.. However, two major movements in the novel, while certainly analyzed in other studies, have been neglected as possible resources for approaching the fundamental question of irony.  These are Stephen’s relationship with Emma and the journal entries that conclude the fifth section.  April 15, the date of his last meeting with Emma before departing, represents the intersection of these two themes or motifs.  I propose to start by making some general assertions about the tenor of the journal, before using April 15 as a launching point to consider the overall relationship between Emma and Stephen in Portrait and Portrait’s original version, Stephen Hero.  The results of this will clarify Joyce’s attitude towards Stephen’s attempted Nietzschean self-transformation.

Significantly, the last discussion narrated by Joyce before the commencement of Stephen’s journal ends on a heated and ambiguous question.  Cranly and Stephen have been discussing the nature of Stephen’s revolt and whether he is afraid of being alone or making a mistake.  Stephen vociferously denies this, saying “I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned by another or to leave whatever I have to leave.  And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too” (Portrait, 269).  Cranly presses him on this point, asking him once again whether he has no fear of separation nor of having no friends; finally, he asks, “and not to have one person…who would be more than a friend, more than even the noblest and truest friend and a man ever had?” (ibid.; emphasis added)  At this point, Stephen suspects they are no longer talking about his future or their friendship, but rather Emma, whom he suspects his friend of betraying him for.  When he asks “Of whom are you speaking?” they both know that Emma is the subject, Emma is the one who could be “more than a friend” to both of them, especially Stephen.  More than anything else—travel plans, aesthetic theories, family anecdotes, scraps of poems—Emma is the subject of the journal, until her final dismissal of Stephen on April 15.  The text of the first half of April 15 is worth considering in full:

Met [Emma] today pointblank in Grafton Street.  The crowd brought us together.  We both stopped.  She asked me why I never came, she said she had heard all sorts of stories about me.  This was only to gain time.  Asked me, was I writing poems?  About whom, I asked her.  This confused her more and I felt sorry and mean.  Turned off the valve at once at opened the spiritual-heroic refrigerating apparatus, invented and  patented in all countries by Dante Alighieri.  Talked rapidly of myself and my plans.  In the midst of it unluckily I made a sudden gesture of a revolutionary nature.  I must have looked like a fellow        throwing a handful of peas into the air.  People began to look at us.  She shook hands a moment after and, in going away, said she hoped I would do what I said.  (275)

As in other encounters between them, Emma has the upper hand.  She asks the questions, controls the conversation, and then leaves.  Notably, Joyce emphasizes, I believe, that she has compassion and concern for Stephen; we see this in the stories she hears about him and her interest in whether he is writing poems.  Of course, Stephen responds to this defensively, since he realizes in front of her, his Beatrice, the Light of Truth, that he is not a poet.  He demonstrates his timidity before her by him talking “rapidly of myself and [his] plans,” and the unlucky revolutionary gesture that causes people to look at them, causing  Emma, presumably embarrassed, to leave.  Perhaps the saddest line of the novel follows: “she shook hands a moment after and, in going away, she said I hoped I would do what I said (298).”  By the simple insertion of the clause “in going away,” Joyce illustrates that she doesn’t think he is capable of doing what he says, and feels pity, not respect for him.[iiii]

This final meeting, however, seems to galvanize Stephen to reconsider his plans.  The second part of the journal entry, introduced by the transition “Now I call that friendly, don’t you?” concerns Stephen deciding whether he should give up his poetry and plans for Emma.  As he writes, “I liked her and it seemed a new feeling to me.  Then, in that case, all the rest, all that I thought I thought and all that I felt I felt, all the rest before now, in fact…O, give it up, old chap!” (ibid.)  Stephen, in considering giving up all he had thought and felt for Emma, comes close to avoiding the disappointment that (tacitly) awaits him upon his voluntary exile.  April 16’s diary entry, as if trying to fight against the emotions of the previous night, reads “Away! Away! Away!” and thus avoids Emma’s power to make him feel inferior or confused, which is evident throughout the novel, especially through the repetition of the famous tram scene.

In “Epiphanies of Dublin,” Richard Kain writes “[the tram scene] is found three times in Portrait … and the episode becomes a motif” (95).  The first instance occurs after the children’s party at Harold’s Cross, where “[Stephen’s] silent watchful manner had grown upon him and he took little part in the games” (Portrait 71).  Later, in one of the most beautiful passages in the novel, Joyce describes Stephen and Emma waiting on the last tram, “he on the upper step and she on the lower.  She came up to his step many times and went down to hers again between their phrases and once or twice stood close beside him for some moments on the upper step, forgetting to go down, and then went down” (72).  This inability for the two of them to be on the same “step,” because Stephen aspires towards the heights and she is content on the lower steps, remains constant throughout their encounters.  The second tram scene (or recollection) occurs on the night of the Whitsuntide play, when he remembers “their leavetaking on the steps of the tram at Harold’s Cross, on the stream of moody emotions it had made to cross through him all day, and the poem he had written about it” (81).

Finally, the third tram scene, as indicated by Kain, re-occurs in Stephen’s mind during the famous villanelle composition, to which I will return below.  As Joyce narrates, returning to the steps symbol, “[Stephen] had written verses for her again after ten years…They had stood on the steps of the tram [then], he on the upper, she on the lower.  She came up to his step many times between their phrases and went down again and once or twice remained beside him forgetting to go down then went down.  Let be!  Let be!” (241).  Finally, Kain seems to fail to notice the fourth instance of the tram memory in the journal entry of April 10, where Stephen writes of hoofs upon the road appearing “faintly, under the heavy night, through the silence of the city which had turned from dreams to dreamless sleep as a weary lover whom no caresses move” (274).  This entry is followed automatically by April 11: “Read what I wrote last night.  Vague words for a vague emotion.  Would she like it?  I think so.  Then I should have to like it also” (ibid.)  The fact that he links the passage so clearly with Emma indicates that the hooves are those from the last tram at Harold’s Cross, and that the image of the cross, with its transverse lines, its different directions, is iconic for Emma and Stephen, who are destined to remain apart, in the end, despite their many encounters and her drastic effects on Stephen.

Stephen’s haughtiness and pride are unchecked by nobody in the novel except for Emma.  Neither his mother, his father, or his school friends can challenge the image he has adopted for himself; as an artist, a rebel, and einer Ubermensch; he holds nothing but contempt for the rabble, for the “herd,” for his former religious instructors.  However, Emma radiates (seemingly without intention) a tranquility or sense of peace that frequently stymies Stephen and leads him to question his theories and plans.

After his initial experiences at the brothel, he hears Emma laughing and sees her standing in the square.  Her image rises above him and “a flood of shame rushed forth a new from his heart.  If she knew to what his mind had subjected her or how his brute-like lust had torn and trampled upon her innocence.  Was that boyish love?  Was that chivalry?  Was that poetry?” (124).  Later, as he passes the library with his school friends, Lynch nudges him and informs him that his beloved is present.  After watching her stand silently with her companions, Stephen’s “mind, emptied of theory and courage, lapsed back into a listless peace” (234; emphasis added).  Later, during the construction of the villanelle, he admits to himself that, “however, he might revile and mock her image, his anger represents a form of homage.  He had left the classroom in disdain that was not wholly sincere…she was a figure of the womanhood of her country” (239).

As adverted to above, the composition and final form of the villanelle raises many issues about Portrait.  One of these is whom in fact “you” refers to—of course, the most obvious antecedent is Emma, but an alternate reading of the first and recurring lines, “Are you not weary of ardent ways,” suggesting Stephen as the antecedent, clarifies and unifies a diversity of ideas in this paper.  If we take “you” to be Stephen, as I do, then we necessarily have introduced self-consciousness and deliberation into a character seeming to lack both.  Stephen asks himself, perhaps, are you not weary of pursuing wild ambition, aspiring to lonely heights, imaging future “enchanted days”?  Earlier in the novel, he has envisioned his future enchanted days in the following rhapsodic prose:

He was different from others.  He did not want to play.  He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld.  He did not know where to seek it or how: but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him.  They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some secret place.  They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured.  He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes, and then in a moment he would be transfigured.  Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that magic moment. (67; emphasis added)

If there is self-doubt in Stephen about his future, as I have argued, especially on April 15 and on other encounters with Emma, it involves a central misunderstanding about the nature of art and the nature of life.  Stephen thinks success in the former requires abstaining from the latter.  When he asks himself, are you not weary of ardent ways, he is in fact asking himself: would you not rather be with Emma, rather than solitary and heroic?

Joyce makes us at least consider this interpretation by having Stephen utter almost the same line in a completely different context.  While walking with Cranly around the library, that ur-Symbol of part V, Stephen notes how Emma “bowed across Stephen in response to Cranly’s greeting” and how Cranly’s cheeks then flushed slightly.  Stephen then wonders whether this apparent betrayal “explain[s] his friend’s listless silence, his harsh comments, the sudden intrusions of rude speech with which he had shattered so often Stephen’s ardent wayward confession” (252; emphasis added).  A great deal of dialogue in section V portrays Cranly and Stephen attempting to defeat the other; or perhaps Cranly trying to defeat or convince Stephen to reconsider his thoughts and plans.  And no time, however, does Stephen give in or provide the impression that his “confessions” had been “shattered.”  We must then imagine that these “ardent wayward confessions” are withheld from the narrative, but that they, as confessions, might represent Stephen admitting to Cranly, his rival for Emma, that he is, possibly, wearying of his ardent ways, wearying of his dreams of giving style to his life, wearying of all artistic ambition.


One of the central, if over-looked, ironies in Portrait consist in the power that Emma exercises from start to finish over Stephen.  As a humble, religious, silent “figure of the womanhood of her country,” Emma, along with Mrs. Dedalus, represents all of the tradition and ignorance of Ireland that he holds in contempt; she knits the nets that he wishes to fly from.  No matter how grandiloquent and profound he can make himself appear to himself, when he sees himself in her eyes, he is reduced to shame, timidity, and self-doubt.

Like the brooding young man on the mountainside whom Zarathustra counsels, Stephen Dedalus is not yet free because he searches for freedom and because he fundamentally misunderstands its nature.  As Nietzsche writes, “you are still a prisoner who is plotting his freedom; alas, in such prisoners the soul becomes clever, but also decent and bad” (Thus Sprach Zarathustra, 154).  Stephen is precisely this: a clever, cunning, silent, brooding prisoner who fails to understand that he has created the bars of his own prison by believing in his his “ardent ways” more than his heart, which tells him the truth about himself and his sensitive nature every time he sees Emma and is reminded of the truth.

This truth is that same truth Swedenborg claimed that birds have: to find in life a symbiosis or natural flow between reason and emotion; not to “create an order out of life perverted by reason” (Portrait, 244).   This truth involves understanding how art emerges out of and is connected at all times with a well-lived life.  Nietzsche understood this truth when he conceived of amor fati and celebrated the Eternal Recurrence of all things.  Joyce himself understood this truth when he created the character of Leopold Bloom, as a correction and father-figure for the adult Stephen Dedalus, who appears in Ulysses, in Zarathustra’s words, as, one who  “slandered all higher hopes…[who] lived impudently in brief pleasures and barely cast [his] goals beyond the day.”  Unfortunately, Stephen Dedalus, given one last chance on April 15 to re-learn again the priority of life and connection over solitary aesthetic expression, gives up, shutting his eyes tight against the truth and repeating, against what he seems to truly want, “Away! Away! Away!”.

Works Consulted:

Benstock, Bernard.  “A Light from Some Other World.”  Approaches to Joyce’s Portrait. Ed. Benstock, Bernard and Thomas Staley.  Pittsburgh: U of Pitt, 1976.

Davison, Neil.  “Joyce and Nietzsche.”  Web.  Accessed 12. 10. 2010.

Ellmann, Richard.  James Joyce.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1959.

Farkas, Paul.  “The Irony of the Artist as a Young Man: A Study in the Structure of Joyce’s Portrait.”  Syracuse University Graduate Studies in English, 11.2 (1971): 22-32.

Joyce, James.  “A Painful Case.”  The Dubliners. New York: Penguin Books, 1967.

Joyce, James.  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  New York: Penguin Books, 1992.

Joyce, James.  The Letters of James Joyce.  New York: Viking Press, 1957.

Kain, Richard.  “Epiphanies of Dublin.”  Approaches to Joyce’s Portrait.  Ed. Benstock, Bernard and Thomas Staley.  Pittsburgh: U of Pitt, 1976.

Kenner, Hugh.  “The Cubist Portrait.”  Approaches to Joyce’s Portrait.  Ed. Benstock, Bernard and Thomas Staley.  Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1976.

Naremore, James.  “Consciousness and Society in Portrait.”  Ed.  Benstock, Bernard and Thomas Staley.  Approaches to Joyce’s Portrait.  Pittsburgh: U of Pitt Press, 1976.

Nietzsche, Friedrich.  The Gay Science.  Trans. Kaufmann, Walter.  New York: Viking Press, 1974.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Sprach Zarathustra. The Portable Nietzsche. Ed. and Trans. Kaufmann, Walter.  New York: Viking Press, 1968.

Osteen, Mark.  “The Great Expectations of Stephen Dedalus.”  The James Joyce Quarterly, 41, PMLA, 68, 1 (1953): pp. 95-102.

Ryf, Robert.  “Irony in A Portrait.”  Readings on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  Ed. Swisher, Clarice.  San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000


[i] The connections or tensions between good art and the good life were often on Joyce’s mind during this period.  Cf. “What really is the point is: whether it is possible for me to combine the exercise of my art with a reasonably happy life (10/18/1906).” (Joyce, Selected Joyce Letters, 121.)  The same question was omnipresent in Nietzsche’s work.

[ii] Joyce’s habit of signing correspondence as “JAMES OVERMAN” emphasizes the imbrications between his fictional alter-egos, himself, and the idea of der Ubermensch.

[iii] Please allow a tangential mini-graph on the final date, April 27.  As we know from Ulysses and “The Dead,” Joyce exhibited a propensity for using dates for symbolic purposes.  Therefore, what do we make of April 27?  According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, that date represents the Irish-Catholic feast-day of St. Assicus, who was St. Patrick’s blacksmith and an expert in copper and iron (sort of like a Christian Hephaestus), and thus was experienced in “forging” things out of “smithies” (presumably).  Also, Assicus left his native area of Ireland for 7 years and died before he could return.

[iiii] In Stephen Hero, Emma’s feelings towards Stephen are even harsher, as indicated by this excerpt from their last meeting in the recovered manuscript: “They stood together in the deserted street and he continued speaking, a certain ingenuous disattachment guiding his excited passion.—I felt that I longed to hold you in my arms, your body…She tried to take her arm away from his and murmured as if she were repeating from memory:–You are mad, Stephen…You say I am mad because I do not bargain with you or say I love or swear to, [Stephen said].  But I believe you hear my words and understand me, don’t you?—I don’t understand you indeed, she answered with a touch of anger…You are mad, I think, she said, brushing past him swiftly without taking any notice of his salute.  She did not go quickly enough, however, to hide the tears that were in her eyes and he, surprised to see them and wondering at their cause, forgot to say the goodbye that was on his lips.  As he watched her walk onward swiftly with her head slightly bowed he seemed to feel her soul and his falling asunder swiftly and forever after an instant of all but union” (Joyce, Stephen Hero, 198-199).

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