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James Joyce

(2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941 / Dublin / Ireland)

Quotations

  • ''It seems to me you do not care what banality a man expresses so long as he expresses it in Irish.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Stephen Daedalus, in Stephen Hero, ch. 17 (1944, revised 1975). In answer to Madden's attempts to convert him to Irish nationalism.
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  • ''Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.... Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Stephen Dedalus, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ch. 5 (1916). Departing from Ireland, in the closing lines of the book. "Old artificer" refers to Daedalus, the mythical craftsman, whose flight from Crete ended in the drowning of his son. Joyce's own experience on fleeing Ireland was characterized by debt and penury.
  • ''Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Stephen Dedalus, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ch. 5 (1916).
  • ''Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an esthetic end.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Stephen Dedalus, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ch. 5 (1916).
  • ''I fear those big words which make us so unhappy.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Stephen Dedalus, in Ulysses, ch. 2 of 1984 edition (1922).
  • ''Satan, really, is the romantic youth of Jesus re-appearing for a moment.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Stephen Hero, episode 26, New Directions (1944). Stephen Daedalus is the speaker in this passage from Joyce's unfinished manuscript, Stephen Hero. Less than half the manuscript exists, and it was published only after Joyce's death.
  • ''—The men that is now is only all palaver and what they can get out of you.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. "The Dead," Dubliners, ed. Robert Scholes, Viking (1968). Lily, the caretaker at the Mrs. Morkans', makes her well- known response to Gabriel Conroy's question about her marriage prospects in Dublin.
  • ''Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honoured by posterity because he was the last to discover America.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. repr. in Critical Writings, sct. 46, eds. Ellsworth Mason and Richard Ellmann (1959). "The Mirage of the Fisherman of Aran," Piccolo della Sera, Trieste (Sept. 5, 1912).
  • ''First, in the history of words there is much that indicates the history of men, and in comparing the speech of to-day with that of years ago, we have a useful illustration of the effect of external influences on the very words of a race.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. From a holograph manuscript written during Joyce's matriculation at University College, Dublin, 1898 or 1899. "The Study of Languages," The Critical Writings, eds. Richard Ellmann and Ellsworth Mason, Viking (1959).
  • ''The Irishman's house is his coffin.''
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Ulysses, ch. 6, "Hades," The Corrected Text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler, Random House (1986). Leopold Bloom comments on Ireland and death.

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At That Hour

At that hour when all things have repose,
O lonely watcher of the skies,
Do you hear the night wind and the sighs
Of harps playing unto Love to unclose
The pale gates of sunrise?

When all things repose, do you alone
Awake to hear the sweet harps play
To Love before him on his way,

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