‘Exotic, patriotic, chaotic, erotic and hypnotic…..’ (Pearn)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man turns 100 in December 2016. To celebrate this iconic and ground-breaking work, Bloomsday in Melbourne’s scripting team has written and rewritten its original stage adaptation, and, as we speak, a team of actors under the watchful eye of Director, Wayne Pearn, is working to bring it to you, as it’s never been seen before.
This novel was a long time in gestation. It began life as a posthumously published first attempt, Stephen Hero. That version was abandoned in a fit of pique which saw it briefly encounter flames in a hearth in Trieste, and it was happily rescued, probably by his sister Eileen. The second version, a very different beast, much less hero and more mock-heroic, took him even longer to write than Ulysses.
The completely rewritten novel had a difficult birth and some very interesting midwives in the persons of Ezra Pound and most notably, Harriet Shaw Weaver, who braved Zeppelin attacks, and censors, and fearful and angry printers (she sacked four and interviewed 14, only to discard them too) to bring it safely into the world. Our 2016 celebration of this dense, poetic and intensely human autobiographical novel will demonstrate its many riches. It still feels modern, ground-breaking, and the team that is bringing it to the stage really admires its scope and ambition, its youthful angst.
Our Stephen, Matt Dorning, is a rebel without a pause, one whose mind is always working on the world and doing so in critical ways. He’s coltish, edgy, challenging, full of Sturm und Drang , and very funny. Can Stephen realize his exhilarating (over-reaching?) ambition to fly free, and make the world a-fresh, to live in a different relationship to his body, his society, knowledge itself, and his art?
Our Seminar will also focus on Portrait, and we’re fortunate to have two speakers who will examine different aspects of the novel. Professor Michael Meehan