I thought it nigh impossible someone could adequately describe the spirit and unfettered freedom the instant upon waking in the morning just prior to awakening wholly, but I believe James Joyce in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has done it.
Portrait is about the intellectual awakening of a young man Stephen Dedalus, an alter ego of the author James Joyce. I find it challenging reading as it uses techniques of the Modernist style (described as a self-conscious break from traditional ways of writing) that were very popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. As the wikipedia page describes it: ‘….dispensing with strict realism and making extensive use of free indirect speech that allows the reader to peer into Stephen’s developing consciousness‘. Joyce would fully embrace this style in his masterpiece Ulysses; a book I am still daunted to read if Portrait is anything to go by. Interestingly, I found To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf which also employs this stream of consciousness / modernist method a more satisfying read which I posted about here.
Despite my difficulty engaging with Portrait there are some spectacular passages which I noted down so I could come back to them. One of them is Joyce’s description about early morning inspiration. Without further or do ladies and gentlemen I present to you – James Joyce from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: