Quotes by James Joyce
When I hear the word "stream" uttered with such a revolting primness, what I think of is urine and not the contemporary novel. And besides, it isn't new, it is far from the dernier cri. Shakespeare used it continually, much too much in my opinion, and there's Tristram Shandy, not to mention the Agamemnon.
The pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book — or worse they may take it in some more serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one single serious line in it.
If I gave it all up immediately, I'd lose my immortality. 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.
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.
Our civilization, bequeathed to us by fierce adventurers, eaters of meat and hunters, is so full of hurry and combat, so busy about many things which perhaps are of no importance, that it cannot but see something feeble in a civilization which smiles as it refuses to make the battlefield the test of excellence.
You forget that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence: and the kingdom of heaven is like a woman.
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.
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present.
I laugh at it today, now that I have had all the good of it. Let the bridge blow up, provided I have got my troops across... Nonetheless, that book was a terrible risk. A transparent leaf separates it from madness.
I think I would know Nora's fart anywhere. I think I could pick hers out in a roomful of farting women.
Beauty, the splendour of truth, is a gracious presence when the imagination contemplates intensely the truth of its own being or the visible world, and the spirit which proceeds out of truth and beauty is the holy spirit of joy. These are realities and these alone give and sustain life.
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.
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.
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.
There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.
My words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through a quagmire.
Does nobody understand?
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 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.
Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honoured by posterity because he was the last to discover America.
All things are inconstant except the faith in the soul, which changes all things and fills their inconstancy with light, but though I seem to be driven out of my country as a misbeliever I have found no man yet with a faith like mine.
Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end.
Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why.
The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole Life to reading my works.
James Joyce's Biography
Irish novelist, noted for his experimental use of language in such works as ULYSSES (1922) and FINNEGANS WAKE (1939). During his career Joyce suffered from rejections from publishers, suppression by censors, attacks by critics, and misunderstanding by readers. From 1902 Joyce led a nomadic life, which perhaps reflected in his interest in the character of Odysseus. Although he spent long times in Paris, Trieste, Rome, and Zürich, with only occasional brief visit to Ireland, his native country remained basic to all his writings.

James Joyce was born in Dublin. His father, John Stanislaus Joyce, was an impoverished gentleman, who had failed in a distillery business and tried all kinds of professions, including politics and tax collecting. Joyce's mother, Mary Jane Murray, was ten years younger than her husband. She was an accomplished pianist, whose life was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church and her husband. In spite of the poverty, the family struggled to maintain solid middle-class facade.

From the age of six Joyce, was educated by Jesuits at Clongowes Wood College, at Clane, and then at Belvedere College in Dublin (1893-97). Later the author thanked Jesuits for teaching him to think straight, although he rejected their religious instructions. At school he once broke his glasses and was unable to do his lessons. This episode was recounted in A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN (1916). In 1898 he entered the University College, Dublin, where he found his early inspirations from the works of Henrik Ibsen, St.Thomas Aquinas and W.B. Yeats. Joyce's first publication was an essay on Ibsen's play When We Dead Awaken. It appeared in Fortnightly Review in 1900. At this time he began writing lyric poems.

After graduation in 1902 the twenty-year-old Joyce went to Paris, where he worked as a journalist, teacher and in other occupations in difficult financial conditions. He spent in France a year, returning when a telegram arrived saying his mother was dying. Not long after her death, Joyce was traveling again. He left Dublin in 1904 with Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid (they married in 1931), staying in Pola, Austria-Hungary, and in Trieste, which was the world’s seventh busiest port. Joyce gave English lessons and talked about setting up an agency to sell Irish tweed. Refused a post teaching Italian literature in Dublin, he continued to live abroad.

The Trieste years were nomadic, poverty-stricken, and productive. Joyce and Nora loved this cosmopolitan port city at the head of the Adriatic Sea, where they lived in a number of different addresses. During this period Joyce wrote most of DUBLINERS (1914), all of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the play, EXILES (1918), and large sections of Ulysses. Several of Joyce's siblings joined them, and two children, Giorgio and Lucia, were born. The children grew up speakin the Trieste dialect of Italian. Joyce and Nora stayed together althoug Joyce fell in love with Anny Schleimer, the daughter of an Austrian banker, and Roberto Prezioso, the editor of the newspaper Il Piccolo della Sera, tried to seduce Nora. After a short stint in Rome in 1906-07 as a bank clerk ended in illness, Joyce returned to Trieste.

In 1907 Joyce published a collection of poems, CHAMBER MUSIC. The title was suggested, as the author later stated, by the sound of urine tinkling into a prostitute's chamber pot. The poems have with their open vowels and repetitions such musical quality that many of them have been made into songs. "I have left my book, / I have left my room, / For I heard you singing / Through the gloom." Joyce himself had a fine tenor voice; he liked opera and bel canto.

In 1909 Joyce opened a cinema in Dublin, but this affair failed and he was soon back in Trieste, still broke and working as a teacher, tweed salesman, journalist and lecturer. In 1912 he was in Ireland, trying to persuade Maunsel & Co to fulfill their contract to publish Dubliners. The work contained a series of short stories, dealing with the lives of ordinary people, youth, adolescence, young adulthood, and maturity. The last story, 'The Dead', was adapted into screen by John Huston in 1987.

It was Joyce's last journey to his home country. However, he had became friends with Ezra Pound, who began to market his works. In 1916 appeared Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, an autobiographical novel. It apparently began as a quasi-biographical memoir entitled Stephen Hero between 1904 and 1906. Only a fragment of the original manuscript has survived. The book follows the life of the protagonist, Stephen Dedalus, from childhood towards maturity, his education at University College, Dublin, and rebellion to free himself from the claims of family and Irish nationalism. Stephen takes religion seriously, and considers entering a seminary, but then also rejects Roman Catholicism. "? Look here, Cranly, he said. You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. 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 my defence the only arms I allow myself to use ? silence, exile, and cunning." At the end Stephen resolves to leave Ireland for Paris to encounter "the reality of experience". He wants to establish himself as a writer.

At the outset of the First World War, Joyce moved with his family to Zürich, where Lenin and the poet essayist Tristan Tzara had found their refuge. Joyce's WW I years with the legendary Russian revolutionary and Tzara, who founded the dadaist movement at the Cabaret Voltaire, provide the basis for Tom Stoppard's play Travesties (1974).

In Zürich Joyce started to develop the early chapters of Ulysses, which was first published in France, because of censorship troubles in the Great Britain and the United States, where the book became legally available 1933. The theme of jealousy was based partly on a story a former friend of Joyce told: he claimed that he had been sexually intimate with the author's wife, Nora, even while Joyce was courting her. Ulysses takes place on one day in Dublin (June 16, 1904) and reflected the classic work of Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century BC?).

The main characters are Leopold Bloom, a Jewish advertising canvasser, his wife Molly, and Stephen Dedalus, the hero from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. They are intended to be modern counterparts of Telemachus, Ulysses, and Penelope. Barmaids are the famous Sirens. One of the models for Bloom was Ettore Schmitz (Italo Svevo), a novelist and businessman who was Joyce's student at the Berlitz school in Trieste. The story, using stream-of-consciousness technique, parallel the major events in Odysseus' journey home. However, Bloom's adventures are less heroic and his homecoming is less violent. Bloom makes his trip to the underworld by attending a funeral at Glasnevin Cemetary. "We are praying now for the repose of his soul. Hoping you're well and not in hell. Nice change of air. Out of the fryingpan of life into the fire of purgatory." The paths of Stephen and Bloom cross and recross through the day. Joyce's technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature.

From 1917 to 1930 Joyce endured several eye operations, being totally blind for short intervals. (According to tradition, Homer was also blind.) In March 1923 Joyce began in Paris his second major work, Finnegans Wake, suffering at the same time chronic eye troubles caused by glaucoma. The first segment of the novel appeared in Ford Madox Ford's transatlantic review in April 1924, as part of what Joyce called Work in Progress. Wake occupied Joyce's time for the next sixteen years ? its final version was completed late in 1938. A copy of the novel was present at Joyce's birthday celebration on February 1939.

Joyce's daughter Lucia, born in Trieste in 1907, became Carl Jung's patient in 1934. In her teens, she studied dance, and later The Paris Times praised her skills as choreocrapher, linguist, and performer. With her father she collaborated in POMES PENYEACH (1927), for which she did some illustrations. Lucia's great love was Samuel Beckett, who was not interested in her. In the 1930s, she started to behave erratically. At the Burghölz psychiatric clinic in Z? where Jung worked, she was diagnosed schizophrenic. Joyce was left bitter at Jung's analysis of his daughter ? Jung thought she was too close with her father's psychic system. In revenge, Joyce played in Finnegans Wake with Jung's concepts of Animus and Anima. Lucia died in a mental hospital in Northampton, England, in 1982.

After the fall of France in WWII, Joyce returned to Zürich, where he was taken ill. He was diagnosed of having a perforated duodenal ulcer. Joyce died after an operation, on January 13, 1941, still disappointed with the reception of Finnegans Wake, published on 4 May, 1939, by Faber and Faber. His last words were: "Does nobody understand?" Joyce was buried in Z?at Fluntern cemetery.

Finnegans Wake was the last and most revolutionary work of the author, partly based on Freud's dream psychology, Bruno's theory of the complementary but conflicting nature of opposites, and the cyclic theory of history of Giambattista Vico (1668-1744). There is not much plot or characters to speak of ? the life of all human experience is viewed as fragmentary. Some critics considered the work masterpiece, though many readers found it incomprehensible. "The only demand I make of my reader," Joyce once told an interviewer, "is that he should devote his whole life to reading my works." When the American writer Max Eastman asked Joyce why the book was written in a very difficult style, Joyce replied: "To keep the critics busy for three hundred years." The novel presents the dreams and nightmares of H.C. Earwicker (Here Comes Everywhere) and his family, the wife and mother Anna Livia Plurabelle, the twins Shem/Jerry and Shaun/Kevin, and the daughter Issy, as they lie asleep throughout the night. In the frame of the minimal central story Joyce experiments with language, combines puns and foreign words with allusions to historical, psychological and religious cosmology. The characters turn up in hundreds of different forms ? animal, vegetable and mineral. Transformations are as flexible as in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The last word in the book is 'the', which leads, by Joyce's ever recurrent cycles, to the opening word in the book, the eternal 'riverrun.'

Although the events are set in the Dublin suburb of Chapelizod, the place is an analogy for everywhere else. Wake's structure follows the three stages of history as laid out by Vico: the Divine, the Heroic, and Human, followed period of flux, after which the cycle begins all over again: the last sentence in the work runs into the first. The title of the book is a compound of Finn MaCool, the Irish folk-hero who is supposed to return to life at some future date to become the savior of Ireland, and Tim Finnegan, the hero of music-hall ballad, who sprang to life in the middle of his own wake.


Some rights reserved Petri Liukkonen (author) & Ari Pesonen. Kuusankosken kaupunginkirjasto 2008


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