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A Good Place To Start

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 5
Dubliners 4
Ulysses 1

A Bad Place To Start

Finnegans Wake 4
Ulysses 1
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 1


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James Joyce

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

jorn January 29th, 2006 04:46 AM PST

Start with "Ulysses". It's hard but it's the most representative. Dubliners and Portrait are not representative, and if you find them boring, you should absolutely try Ulysses anyway. Then go back to Portrait next, then Dubliners, then FW.

McDruid February 2nd, 2006 05:51 PM PST

Ulysses is a book that many start and few finish.

editor February 20th, 2010 10:25 AM PST

Dare I say it? I loved "Dubliners," but nothing else in Joyce (not even "Portrait of the Artist") really touched me. I would recommend starting with "Dubliners," but I think the previous commenter, who said this isn't really representative of Joyce, is in many ways correct. And yet Ulysses seemed to me so cerebral, so cleverly involved with itself as a piece of writing, as to defy true engagement--but that's me. It has long been my sense that there are two kinds of readers: Joycean readers and Proustian readers. I am the latter.


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James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (Irish Séamus Seoighe; 2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish writer and poet, widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Along with Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf, he is a key figure in the development of the modernist novel. He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922). His other major works are the short story collection Dubliners (1914) and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939).

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