James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist: (His)-Story as Post-Traumatic Autofiction


Suzette Henke

pages: 36 – 45
published online: 22 july 2013

What I would like to argue is that James Joyce revised Stephen Hero by structuring the more experimental Portrait around a series of traumatic focal points delineating hysteria and dissociative identity disorder, followed by epiphanic moments of ostensible triumph for its protagonist, now rechristened Stephen Dedalus. Although critics like Katherine Mullin and Jed Esty have described Stephen as “traumatized” at various points in Portrait, no one has yet suggested that traumatic experiences and post-traumatic repetition function as a linchpin in the formation of Joyce’s fragmented modernist subject.
Key words: Portrait, trauma, identity, experience, focal point.

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