Insightful quotes by James Joyce

Here are a collection of James Joyce quotes, both directly and from various books, that give an insight into his character and thoughts that the bibliography, though factual, lacked, in my opinion;

“I confess that I do not see what good it does to fulminate against the English tyranny while the Roman tyranny occupies the palace of the soul.” 

This quote in particular shows off several characteristics of Joyce that really shine through in Ulysses, and are important in understand it; his irreverence and disdain for the Catholic church, an opinion he developed at a young age, coupled with his Irish nationalism, gave him a cynically realistic view of politics, and of Ireland.

“To say that a great genius is half-mad, while recognizing his artistic prowess, is worth as much as saying that he was rheumatic, or that he suffered from diabetes. Madness, in fact, is a medical expression to which a balanced critic should pay no more heed than he would to the accusation of heresy brought by the theologian, or to the accusation of immorality brought by the public prosecutor.”

Very self aware in this quote, as he was a bit eccentric, and also displaying a lot of wit. It takes a lot of wit, and an equal amount of insanity, to write like he did.

“Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America.”

Honestly, this one isn’t too deep or revealing, it’s just very witty and insightful, keeping in line with the above quote.

“The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole Life to reading my works.”

“Does nobody understand?” – last words

Both of these very much go together. Firstly, again with the self-awareness. Secondly, I would like to use these two quotes to justify any confusing or “lacking” elements in this presentation. This book is incredibly, incredibly complex. I could fill this blog with the word “complex” over and over again and it still wouldn’t contain as much complexity as Ulysses. My mission of sorts in writing this blog is to show how complex the book is.

Here are some more, should anybody like to read them. Link.


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