Quotations From JAMES JOYCE

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  • 1.
    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.
  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    MUpon my word it makes my blood boil to hear anyone compare Aristotle with Plato. MWhich of the two, Stephen asked, would have banished me from his commonwealth?
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Ulysses, ch. 9, "Scylla and Charybdis," The Corrected Text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler, Random House (1986). Stephen Dedalus questions John Eglinton in the "Library" chapter of Ulysses.
  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    If the Irish programme did not insist on the Irish language I suppose I could call myself a nationalist. As it is, I am content to recognize myself an exile: and, prophetically, a repudiated one.
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Letter, November 6, 1906, to his brother, Stanislaus Joyce. Selected Letters of James Joyce, ed. Richard Ellmann, Viking (1975). Joyce eschewed the linguistic revolution that was a large part of the nationalistic scene.
  • 6.
    A nation is the same people living in the same place.
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Leopold Bloom, in Ulysses, ch. 12 (1922).

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  • 7.
    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."
  • 8.
    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.
  • 9.
    Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Ulysses, ch. 13, "Nausicaa," The Corrected Text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler, Random House (1986). Leopold Bloom on the basic Joycean plot.

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  • 10.
    Ireland sober is Ireland stiff.
    James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Finnegans Wake, Part I, section vii, Penguin (1976).
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