James Joyce Quotes
I shall write a book some day about the appropriateness of names. Geoffrey Chaucer has a ribald ring, as is proper and correct, and Alexander Pope was inevitably Alexander Pope. Colley Cibber was a silly little man without much elegance and Shelley was very Percy and very Bysshe.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Quoted in Frederic Prokosch, Voices: A Memoir, "At Sylvia's," (1983). Joyce was replying to a question from the young author and poet Prokosch, "What do you think of Virginia Woolf?" Joyce answered that it was "an impressive name ... she married her wolfish husband purely in order to change her name. Virginia Stephens is not a name for an exploratory authoress."
You forget that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence: and the kingdom of heaven is like a woman.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Robert Hand, in Exiles, act 2 (1918).
I think a child should be allowed to take his father's or mother's name at will on coming of age. Paternity is a legal fiction.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. letter, Sept. 18, 1905, to his brother Stanislaus. Selected Letters, ed. Richard Ellmann (1975).
Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Letter, September 5, 1918. Selected Letters of James Joyce, ed. Richard Ellmann (1975).
I am not likely to die of bashfulness but neither am I prepared to be crucified to attest the perfection of my art. I dislike to hear of any stray heroics on the prowl for me.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Letter, February 28, 1905, to his brother, Stanislaus Joyce. Selected Letters of James Joyce, ed. Richard Ellmann, Viking (1975). Joyce explains to his brother the balance of pride and practicality that governed the public side of his career as writer.