James Joyce Quotes

Our civilization, bequeathed to us by fierce adventurers, eaters of meat and hunters, is so full of hurry and combat, so busy about many things which perhaps are of no importance, that it cannot but see something feeble in a civilization which smiles as it refuses to make the battlefield the test of excellence.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. repr. in Critical Writings, sct. 12, eds. Ellsworth Mason and Richard Ellmann (1959). "A Suave Philosophy," Daily Express (Dublin, Feb. 6, 1903). Reviewing H. Fielding Hall's The Soul of a People (on Burmese society and Buddhism).
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A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Ulysses, ch. 9, "Scylla and Charybdis," The Corrected Text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler, Random House (1986). Stephen Dedalus on Shakespeare and genius.
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The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Buck Mulligan, in Ulysses, ch. 1 of 1984 edition (1922).
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History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Ulysses, ch. 2, "Nestor," The Corrected Text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler, Random House (1986). Stephen Dedalus's response to the slogan-mongering Mr. Deasy, his schoolmaster employer.
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Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Cranly, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ch. 5 (1916).
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A nation? says Bloom. A nation is the same people living in the same place. —By God, then, says Ned, laughing, if that's so I'm a nation for I'm living in the same place for the past five years.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Ulysses, ch. 12, "Cyclops," The Corrected Text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler, Random House (1986).
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Human society is the embodiment of changeless laws which the whimsicalities and circumstances of men and women involve and overwrap. The realm of literature is the realm of these accidental manners and humours—a spacious realm; and the true literary artist concerns himself mainly with them.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. From a paper read before the Literary and Historical Society of University College, Dublin, in 1900. "Drama and Life," The Critical Writings, eds. Richard Ellmann and Ellsworth Mason, Viking (1959).
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MWhat is a ghost? Stephen said with tingling energy. One who has faded into impalpability through death, through absence, through change of manners. Elizabethan London lay as far from Stratford as corrupt Paris lies from virgin Dublin. Who is the ghost from limbo patrum, returning to the world that has forgotten him? Who is King Hamlet?
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Ulysses, ch. 9, "Scylla and Charybdis," The Corrected Text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler, Random House (1986). Stephen Dedalus outlining one of the basic plots of literature and life, one that fits Homer, Shakespeare, and himself.
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Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Dubliners, "The Dead," (1916). Closing passage of the story.
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I had to get him to suck them they were so hard he said it was sweeter and thicker than cows then he wanted to milk me into the tea well hes beyond everything I declare somebody ought to put him in the budget if I only could remember the 1 half of the things and write a book out of it the works of Master Poldy yes....
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Ulysses, ch. 18, "Penelope," The Corrected Text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler, Random House (1986). Molly Bloom's thoughts about writing a book on her husband's odd notions describe precisely what Joyce did in Ulysses.
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