100 Quotes by James Joyce

James Joyce, an innovative Irish writer of the early 20th century, stands as a literary pioneer whose works transformed the landscape of modernist literature. Through masterpieces like "Ulysses" and "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," Joyce pioneered stream-of-consciousness narrative techniques and challenged traditional notions of storytelling structure. His writing delved into the intricate workings of human consciousness, capturing the nuances of thought, memory, and perception. While often criticized for his complex prose, Joyce's work is a testament to his intellectual and artistic daring, exploring themes of identity, sexuality, and the intersection of individual lives with historical and cultural contexts. His influence on subsequent generations of writers and his impact on the evolution of narrative form solidify his position as a pivotal figure in the world of literature.

James Joyce Quotes

Love loves to love love. (Meaning)

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People trample over flowers, yet only to embrace a cactus. (Meaning)

Shut your eyes and see.

Absence, the highest form of presence. (Meaning)

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. (Meaning)

There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. (Meaning)

Your mind will give back to you exactly what you put into it. (Meaning)

The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.

Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.

I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.

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I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality.

Fall if you will, but rise you must. (Meaning)

Your battles inspired me - not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.

He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.

History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.

The important thing is not what we write but how we write, and in my opinion the modern writer must be an adventurer above all, willing to take every risk, and be prepared to founder in his effort if need be. In other words we must write dangerously

One great part of every human existence is passed in a state which cannot be rendered sensible by the use of wideawake language, cutanddry grammar and goahead plot.

A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

They lived and laughed and loved and left. (Meaning)

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My words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through a quagmire.

Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.

Men are governed by lines of intellect. Women: by curves of emotion.

Thought is the thought of thought.

You can still die when the sun is shining.

The light music of whiskey falling into glasses made an agreeable interlude.

Civilization may be said indeed to be the creation of its outlaws.

Bury the dead. Say Robinson Crusoe was true to life. Well then Friday buried him. Every Friday buries a Thursday if you come to look at it.

To learn one must be humble. But life is the great teacher.

It is as painful perhaps to be awakened from a vision as to be born.

Life is too short to read a bad book.

An Irishman needs three things : silence, cunnning, and exile.

A man's errors are his portals of discovery.

And yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.

I am proud to be an emotionalist.

His heart danced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide. He heard what her eyes said to him from beneath their cowl and knew that in some dim past, whether in life or revery, he had heard their tale before.

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.

Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.

White pudding and eggs and sausages and cups of tea! How simple and beautiful was life after all!

There's no friends like the old friends.

I have the words already. What I am seeking is the perfect order of words in the sentence. You can see for yourself how many different ways they might be arranged.

Every jackass going the roads thinks he has ideas.

Beware the horns of a bull, the heels of the horse, and the smile of an Englishman.

All things are inconstant except the faith in the soul, which changes all things and fills their inconstancy with light.

The object of the artist is the creation of the beautiful. What the beautiful is is another question.

Masturbation! The amazing availability of it!

Children must be educated by love, not punishment.

By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or memorable phrase of the mind itself. He believed it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care (saving them for later use, that is), seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments.

Jesus was a bachelor and never lived with a woman. Surely living with a woman is one of the most difficult things a man has to do, and he never did it.

The pleasures of love lasts but a fleeting but the pledges of life outlusts a lieftime.

While you have a thing it can be taken from you…..but when you give it, you have given it. no robber can take it from you. It is yours then forever when you have given it. It will be yours always. That is to give.

Wipe your glasses with what you know.

No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet, no inclination.

Tenors get women by the score.

Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.

There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.

Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality. It speaks of what seems fantastic and unreal to those who have lost the simple intuitions which are the test of reality; and, as it is often found at war with its age, so it makes no account of history, which is fabled by the daughters of memory.

Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.

Ask no questions and you'll hear no lies.

Time's ruins build eternity's mansions.

Places remember events.

People could put up with being bitten by a wolf but what properly riled them was a bite from a sheep.

Redheaded women buck like goats.

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.

As I am. As I am. All or not at all.

Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why.

Like the tender fires of stars moments of their life together, that no one knew of or would ever know of, broke upon and illuminated his memory.

There's many a true word spoken in jest.

I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short time of space.

Very gratefully, with grateful appreciation, with sincere appreciative gratitude, in appreciatively grateful sincerity of regret, he declined.

Sentimentality is unearned emotion.

God made food; the devil the cooks.

Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen.

What's yours is mine and what's mine is my own.

We are all born in the same way but we all die in different ways.

My puns are not trivial. They are quadrivial

In the particular is contained the universal.

But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.

My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out.

Every age must look for its sanction to its poetry and philosophy, for in these the human mind, as it looks backward or forward, attains to an eternal state.

I think I would know Nora's fart anywhere. I think I could pick hers out in a roomful of farting women.

Man and woman, love, what is it? A cork and a bottle.

I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.

I was happier then. Or was that I? Or am I now I? Can't bring back time. Like holding water in your hand. Would you go back to then? Just beginning then. Would you?

To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.

I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.

All fiction is autobiographical fantasy.

A writer is a priest of eternal imagination, transmuting the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of everliving life.

I am quite content to go down to posterity as a scissors and paste man for that seems to me a harsh but not unjust description

What's in a name? That is what we ask ourselves in childhood when we write the name that we are told is ours.

Love (understood as the desire of good for another) is in fact so unnatural a phenomenon that it can scarcely repeat itself the soul being unable to become virgin again and not having energy enough to cast itself out again into the ocean of another s soul.

Let my country die for me.

White wine is like electricity. Red wine looks and tastes like a liquified beefsteak.

Nations have their ego, just like individuals.

Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory.

We are bound together by the sympathy of our antipathies.

Always see a fellows weak point in his wife.

Frequent and violent temptations were a proof that the citadel of the soul had not fallen and that the devil raged to make it fall.

Every physical quality admired by men in women is in direct connection with the manifold functions of women for the propagation of the species.

The artist who could disentangle the subtle soul of the image from its mesh of defining circumstances most exactly and 're-embody' it in artistic circumstances chosen as the most exact for it in its new office, he was the supreme artist.

A woman loses a charm with every pin she takes out.

Never let us do wrong, because our opponents did so. Let us, rather, by doing right, show them what they ought to have done, and establish a rule the dictates of reason and conscience, rather than of the angry passions.

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

To discover the mode of life or of art whereby my spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom.

Pity is the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of whatesoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it with the human sufferer.

Does nobody understand?

By his monstrous way of life he seemed to have put himself beyond the limits of reality. Nothing moved him or spoke to him from the real world unless he heard it in an echo of the infuriated cries within him.

British Beatitudes! ... Beer, beef, business, bibles, bulldogs, battleships, buggery and bishops.

Interpretations of interpretations interpreted.

Ineluctable modality of the visible; at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read.

Why is it that words like these seem dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?

O, dread and dire word. Eternity! What mind of man can understand it?

Can't bring back time. Like holding water in your hand.

Time is, time was, but time shall be no more.

A darkness shining in brightness which brightness could not comprehend.

His eyes were dimmed with tears and, looking humbly up to heaven, he wept for the innocence he had lost.

There was no doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had to go away. You could do nothing in Dublin.

He found in the world without as actual what was in his world within as possible.

History is that nightmare from which there is no awakening.

Too excited to be genuinely happy

Life is the great teacher.

He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances. He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a verb in the past tense.

As you are now so once were we.

Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.

A nation is the same people living in the same place.

― James Joyce Quotes

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Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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