The Artist Remains Within or Behind His Handiwork

alex atkins bookshelf quotationsThe artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.

From A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce published in 1916. Joyce’s first novel actually began on his birthday, February 2, 1904, as an autobiographical novel titled Stephen Hero. Initially, Joyce planned on writing 63 chapters, but after he reached the 25th chapter, he abandoned the work. He reworked the structure (switching from third-person to mainly first-person narration), themes, and the protagonist which resulted in the novel we recognize today. Although, were it not for his wife, Nora, and sister, Eileen, the novel would have never been published. In 1908, Joyce threw a hissy fit when publishers refused to publish one of his manuscripts, so he threw the manuscript into the fire. Eileen and Nora saved as much of the manuscript as they could — 518 pages were lost to the fire.

Read related posts: Why Did James Joyce Burn his Manuscript?
You Only Have Your Emotions to Sell

For further reading: Stephen Hero by James Joyce edited by Theodore Spencer, Jonathan Cape (1960)
James Joyce by Richard Ellman, Oxford University Press (1983)
James Joyce: A to Z by A. Nicholas Fargnoli and Michael Gillespie, Facts on File (1995)


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