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Top quotes by James Joyce on failure, patriotism, art, intelligence and other things.

100 Top Quotes By James Joyce, The Author Of Ulysses

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The 20th century was one of the most thriving eras of literature as some of the greatest literary giants were born during this time. And while talking of the greatest, one cannot just miss out on James Joyce, the Irish novelist and poet who immensely contributed to modernist avant-garde and was one of the most influential and important authors of the century. His 1922 work ‘Ulysses’ is a masterpiece or landmark of success as it exhibits Joyce’s talent for writing and storytelling. In it, he employs stream of consciousness, parody, jokes, and virtually every other established literary technique to present his characters. His writing style soon gave him a celebrity status in the literary society. However, the phenomenal success of ‘Ulysses’ isn’t the only thing that Joyce’s literary career stands out for. His other works are equally successful and noteworthy, right from short story ‘Dubliners’ to novels, ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ and ‘Finnegans Wake’. Joyce’s unconventional style, exploration of language and new literary forms were not just visible in his fictional and non-fictional works but also in his quotes wherein he dealt with life’s truth in an avant-garde way. Stream through this section and get your hands on some of the most famous and prominent quotes by James Joyce.

Shut your eyes and see.

- James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.

- James Joyce

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.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

Love loves to love love.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

All Moanday, Tearday, Wailsday, Thumpsday, Frightday, Shatterday.

- James Joyce

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

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

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

- James Joyce

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

- James Joyce

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.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

They lived and laughed and loved and left.

- Finnegans Wake, James Joyce

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

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

- The Dead, James Joyce

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

- Dubliners, James Joyce

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

- James Joyce

The sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

Life is too short to read a bad book.

- James Joyce

Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.

- James Joyce

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, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.

- Dubliners, James Joyce

Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.

- Dubliners, James Joyce

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

- James Joyce

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

- The Dead, James Joyce

Too excited to be genuinely happy

- Dubliners, James Joyce

My mouth is full of decayed teeth and my soul of decayed ambitions.

- James Joyce

I fear those big words, Stephen said, which make us so unhappy.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

God made food; the devil the cooks.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

You can still die when the sun is shining.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

The heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

Have read little and understood less.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

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

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

My heart is quite calm now. I will go back.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

The movements which work revolutions in the world are born out of the dreams and visions in a peasant's heart on the hillside.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

When a man is born...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, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

As you are now so once were we.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

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.

- Dubliners, James Joyce

First we feel. Then we fall.

- Finnegans Wake, James Joyce

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

- Dubliners, James Joyce

There's no friends like the old friends.

- Dubliners, James Joyce

Let my country die for me.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. I shall express myself as I am.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

Redheaded women buck like goats.

- James Joyce

Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!

- Finnegans Wake, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

A corpse is meat gone bad. Well and what's cheese? Corpse of milk.

- James Joyce

He thought that he was sick in his heart if you could be sick in that place.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

What incensed him the most was the blatant jokes of the ones that passed it all off as a jest, pretending to understand everything and in reality not knowing their own minds.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

Me. And me now.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

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

- James Joyce

Drugs age you after mental excitement. Lethargy then. Why? Reaction. A lifetime in a night. Gradually changes your character.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

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

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

What did it avail to pray when he knew his soul lusted after its own destruction?

- James Joyce

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

- Selected Letters, James Joyce

Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an esthetic end.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

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

- James Joyce

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

- Dubliners, James Joyce

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

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

When one reads these strange pages of one long gone one feels that one is at one with one who once…

- Ulysses, James Joyce

His soul swooned softly 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.

- The Dead, James Joyce

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, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

Every bond is a bond to sorrow.

- James Joyce

Thought is the thought of thought.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!

- Finnegans Wake, James Joyce

I am proud to be an emotionalist.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

If it is thus, I ask emphatically whence comes this thusness.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

Though their life was modest, they believed in eating well.

- Dubliners, James Joyce

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

You behold in me, Stephen said with grim displeasure, a horrible example of free thought.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

Love between man and woman is impossible because there must not be sexual intercourse, and friendship between man and woman is impossible because there must be sexual intercourse.

- Dubliners, James Joyce

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

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

I'll tickle his catastrophe.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

For the years, he felt, had not quenched his soul, or hers.

- The Dead, James Joyce

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.

- The Dead, James Joyce

In the particular is contained the universal.

- James Joyce

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

- The Dead, James Joyce

Let us leave theories there and return to here's hear.

- Finnegans Wake, James Joyce

When I die, Dublin will be written on my heart.

- James Joyce

I have left my book, I have left my room, For I heard you singing Through the gloom.

- James Joyce

Be just before you are generous.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

I am other I now.

- James Joyce

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

- James Joyce

Lord, heap miseries upon us yet entwine our arts with laughters low.

- Finnegans Wake, James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce

I'd love to have the whole place swimming in roses

- Ulysses, James Joyce

Read your own obituary notice; they say you live longer. Gives you second wind. New lease of life.

- Ulysses, James Joyce

No one would think he'd make such a beautiful corpse.

- Dubliners, James Joyce

A way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

- Finnegans Wake, James Joyce

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.

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

The intellectual imagination! With me all or not at all. NON SERVIAM!

- Ulysses, James Joyce

It was cold autumn weather, but in spite of the cold they wandered up and down the roads of the Park for nearly three hours. They agreed to break off their intercourse; every bond, he said, is a bond to sorrow.

- Dubliners, James Joyce

Write it, damn you, write it! What else are you good for?

- James Joyce

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

- Ulysses, James Joyce