Fiction by James Joyce
Stephen Hero is an early version of Joyce’s famous A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It was originally rejected on grounds of indecency—so the story goes—by twenty publishers, whereupon Joyce threw the manuscript in the fire, but Mrs. Joyce rescued several unburnt portions. Although Joyce later entirely rewrote his novel of a young Irishman’s rebellion against church, country and family, this early version is beautifully composed, the mood being more discursive and personal than in A Portrait. Many episodes later cut for the sake of good novelistic form, especially autobiographical episodes of sensual and family life, are fully presented, with some of the most vivacious dialogue Joyce ever wrote. Between them, the two versions give us a clear example of Joyce’s literary development as well as many details of his life.