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James Joyce
Irish novelist
(1882-1941)



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Dubliners (1914)

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 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.
-- Dubliners (1914)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), ch. 1

White roses and red roses: those were beautiful colours to think of. And the cards for the first and second place and third place were beautiful colours too: pink and cream and lavender. Lavender and cream and pink roses were beautiful to think of. Perhaps a wild rose might be like those colours and he remembered the song about the wild rose blossoms on the little green place. But you could not have a green rose. But perhaps somewhere in the world you could.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), ch. 1

To merge his life in the common tide of other lives was harder for him than any fasting or prayer, and it was his constant failure to do this to his own satisfaction which caused in his soul at last a sensation of spiritual dryness together with a growth of doubts and scruples.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), ch. 4

Where was his boyhood now? Where was the soul that had hung back from her destiny, to brood alone upon the shame of her wounds and in her house of squalor and subterfuge to queen it in faded cerements and in wreaths that withered at the touch? Or where was he? He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the sea-harvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures of children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.

A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane's and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird's, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.

She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt his presence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quiet sufferance of his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long she suffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bent them towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hither and thither. The first faint noise of gently moving water broke the silence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep; hither and thither, hither and thither; and a faint flame trembled on her cheek.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

Heavenly God! cried Stephen's soul, in an outburst of profane joy. He turned away from her suddenly and set off across the strand. His cheeks were aflame; his body was aglow; his limbs were trembling. On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him.

Her image had passed into his soul for ever and no word had broken the holy silence of his ecstasy. Her eyes had called him and his soul had leaped at the call. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal youth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open before him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error and glory. On and on and on and on!
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

It wounded him to think that he would never be but a shy guest at the feast of the world's culture and that the monkish learning, in terms of which he was striving to forge out an esthetic philosophy, was held no higher by the age he lived in than the subtle and curious jargons of heraldry and falconry.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), pt. 5

The mystery of esthetic like that of material creation is accomplished. The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), pt. 5

It is a curious thing, do you know, Cranly said dispassionately, how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile and cunning.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

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.
-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)





Ulysses (1922)

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air.
-- Ulysses (1922)

The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea.
-- Ulysses (1922), Telemachus

It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked lookingglass of a servant.
-- Ulysses (1922), Telemachus

I fear those big words, Stephen said, which make us so unhappy.
-- Ulysses (1922), Nester

History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
-- Ulysses (1922), Nester

— Mrkgnao! the cat said loudly.

She blinked up out of her avid shameclosing eyes, mewing plaintively and long, showing him her milkwhite teeth. He watched the dark eyeslits narrowing with greed till her eyes were green stones. Then he went to the dresser, took the jug Hanlon's milkman had just filled for him, poured warmbubbled milk on a saucer and set it slowly on the floor.

— Gurrhr! she cried, running to lap.
-- Ulysses (1922)

Come forth Lazarus! And he came fifth and lost the job.
-- Ulysses (1922)

If others have their will Ann hath a way. By cock, she was to blame. She put the comether on him, sweet and twentysix. The greyeyed goddess who bends over the boy Adonis, stooping to conquer, as prologue to the swelling act, is a boldfaced Stratford wench who tumbles in a cornfield a lover younger than herself.
-- Ulysses (1922)

It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, speeding, sustained, to come, don't spin it out too long long breath he breath long life, soaring high, high resplendent, aflame, crowned, high in the effulgence symbolistic, high, of the ethereal bosom, high, of the high vast irradiation everywhere all soaring all around about the all, the endlessnessnessness...
-- Ulysses (1922)

— But it's no use, says he. Force, hatred, history, all that. That's not life for men and women, insult and hatred. And everybody knows that it's the very opposite of that that is really life.
— What? says Alf.
— Love, says Bloom. I mean the opposite of hatred.
-- Ulysses (1922)

Love loves to love love.
-- Ulysses (1922)

Greater love than this, he said, no man hath that a man should lay down his life for his friend. Go thou and do likewise. Thus, or words to that effect, saith Zarathustra, sometime Regius professor of French letters to the university of Oxtail.
-- Ulysses (1922), Oxen of the Sun

The heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit.
-- Ulysses (1922), Ithaca

I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

-- Ulysses (1922), Penelope, closing words

Finnegans Wake (1939)

Riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
-- Finnegans Wake (1939), pt. 1, opening words

The ideal reader suffering from an ideal insomnia.
-- Finnegans Wake (1939), pt. 1

When is a man not a man? ... when he is a -- yours till the rending of the rocks -- Sham.
-- Finnegans Wake (1939), pt. 1

The flushpots of Euston and the hanging garments of Marylebone.
-- Finnegans Wake (1939), pt. 1

Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice balk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? ... Dark hawks hear us. Night! Night! My ho head halls. I feel as heavy as yonder stone. ... Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of. Night!
-- Finnegans Wake (1939), pt. 1

All moanday, tearsday, wailsday, thumpsday, frightday, shatterday till the fear of the Law.
-- Finnegans Wake (1939), pt. 2

Three quarks for Muster Mark!
-- Finnegans Wake (1939), pt. 2


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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