A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel, written from 1914 to 1915. The story describes the formative years of the life of Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology, Daedalus.
A Portrait is a major example of the Bildungsroman. Joyce’s novel traces the intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic and Irish conventions with which he has been raised. He finally leaves for abroad to pursue his ambitions as an artist.