A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce. It depicts the formative years in the life of Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and a pointed allusion to the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology, Daedalus.
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 in which he has been raised. He finally leaves for abroad to pursue his calling as an artist. The work pioneers some of Joyce's modernist techniques that would later come to fruition in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. The Modern Library ranked Portrait as the third greatest English-language novel of the twentieth century.