116+ Best James Joyce Quotes: Exclusive Selection

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde and is regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century. Profoundly inspirational James Joyce quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

If you’re searching for quotes from greatest authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound John Steinbeck quotes, amazing Upton Sinclair quotes and top H. P. Lovecraft quotes.

Famous James Joyce Quotes

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

We are all born in the same way, but we all die in different ways. – James Joyce

Tenors get women by the score. – 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

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. – James Joyce

One of the things I could never get accustomed to in my youth was the difference I found between life and literature. – James Joyce

I think I would know Nora’s fart anywhere. I think I could pick hers out in a roomful of farting women. – James Joyce

But we are living in a skeptical and, if I may use the phrase, a thought-tormented age: and sometimes I fear that this new generation, educated or hyper-educated as it is, will lack those qualities of humanity, of hospitality, of kindly humor which belonged to an older day. – James Joyce

Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality. – James Joyce

Sentimentality is unearned emotion. – James Joyce

As you are now so once were we. – James Joyce

The heaven tree of stars hung with humid night blue fruit. – James Joyce

He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life – James Joyce

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. – James Joyce

My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the center of paralysis. – James Joyce

Love 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. – James Joyce

Michael Robartes remembers forgotten beauty and, when his arms wrap her round, he presses in his arms the loveliness which has long faded from the world. Not this. Not at all. I desire to press in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the world. – James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see. – James Joyce

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. – 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. – James Joyce

You forget that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence: and the kingdom of heaven is like a woman. – James Joyce

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

Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America. – James Joyce

Our souls, shame-wounded by our sins, cling to us yet more, a woman to her lover clinging, the more the more. – James Joyce

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

Her lips touched his brain as they touched his lips, as though they were a vehicle of some vague speech and between them he felt an unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon of sin, softer than sound or odor. – James Joyce

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

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

Love loves to love love. – James Joyce

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

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

Masturbation! The amazing availability of it! – James Joyce

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? – James Joyce

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

Love me. Love my umbrella. – James Joyce

You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too. – James Joyce

An improper art aims at exciting in the way of comedy the feeling of desire but the feeling which is proper to comic art is the feeling of joy. – James Joyce

They lived and laughed and loved and left. – James Joyce

All human history moves towards one great goal. – James Joyce

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 – James Joyce

No one would think he’d make such a beautiful corpse. – James Joyce

Redheaded women buck like goats. – James Joyce

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. – James Joyce

Her image had passed into his soul forever 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! – James Joyce

Sometimes he caught himself listening to the sound of his own voice. He thought that in her eyes he would ascent to an angelical stature; and, as he attached the fervent nature of his companion more and more closely to him, he heard the strange impersonal voice which he recognized as his own, insisting on the soul’s incurable loneliness. We cannot give ourselves, it said: we are our own. – James Joyce

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

Heart of my heart, were it more, More would be laid at your feet. – James Joyce

He drew forth a phrase from his treasure and spoke it softly to himself: A day of dappled seaborne clouds. – James Joyce

Life is too short to read a bad book. – James Joyce

Thanks be to God we lived so long and did so much good. – James Joyce

There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. – James Joyce

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

My heart is quite calm now. I will go back. – James Joyce

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

Winds of May, that dance on the sea, dancing a ring-around in glee From furrow to furrow, while overhead The foam flies up to be garlanded, In silvery arches spanning the air, Saw you my true love anywhere? Welladay! Welladay! For the winds of May! Love is unhappy when love is away! – James Joyce

When the short days of winter came, dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the color of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung us, and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street. – James Joyce

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

Your mind will give back to you exactly what you put into it. – James Joyce

Every jackass going the roads thinks he has ideas. – James Joyce

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

Let my country die for me. – James Joyce

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

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. – James Joyce

Beauty, the splendor 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. – James Joyce

Though people may read more into Ulysses than I ever intended, who is to say that they are wrong: do any of us know what we are creating? Which of us can control our scribblings? They are the script of one’s personality like your voice or your walk. – James Joyce

I care not if I live but a day and a night, so long as my deeds live after me. – James Joyce

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. – James Joyce

And in spite of everything, Ireland remains the brain of the Kingdom. The English, judiciously practical and ponderous, furnish the over-stuffed stomach of humanity with a perfect gadget–the water closet. The Irish, condemned to express themselves in a language not their own, have stamped on it the mark of their own genius and compete for glory with the civilized nations. This is then called English literature. – James Joyce

The personality of the artist, at first a cry or a cadence or a mood and then a fluid, and lambent narrative, finally refines itself out of existence, impersonalizes itself, so to speak. The aesthetic image in the dramatic form is life purified in and reprojected from the human imagination. The mystery of aesthetic 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. – James Joyce

What was after the universe? Nothing. But was there anything round the universe to show where it stopped before the nothing place began? – James Joyce

All fiction is autobiographical fantasy. – James Joyce

Absence, the highest form of presence. – James Joyce

He passes, struck by the stare of truculent Wellington but in the convex mirror grin unstruck the bonham eyes and fatchuck cheekchops of Jollypoldy the rixdix doldy. – James Joyce

When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flown at it to hold it back from flight. – James Joyce

The end he had been born to serve yet did not see had led him to escape by an unseen path and now it beckoned to him once more and a new adventure was about to be opened to him. – James Joyce

Saying that a great genius is mad, while at the same time recognizing his artistic worth, is like saying that he had rheumatism or suffered from diabetes. Madness, in fact, is a medical term that can claim no more notice from the objective critic than he grants the charge of heresy raised by the theologian, or the charge of immorality raised by the police. – James Joyce

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stair head, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: —-Introibo ad altare Dei. – James Joyce

A nation is the same people living in the same place. – James Joyce

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

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. – James Joyce

I think a child should be allowed to take his father’s or mother’s name at will on coming of age. Paternity is a legal fiction. – James Joyce

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

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

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. – James Joyce

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

You cruel creature, little mite of a thing with a heart the size of a full stop. – James Joyce

Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body. – James Joyce

Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine. – 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

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. – James Joyce

Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. 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 into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. – James Joyce

In this life our sorrows are either not very long or not very great because nature either overcomes them by habits or puts an end to them by sinking under their weight. But in hell the torments cannot be overcome by habit, for while they are of terrible intensity they are at the same time of continual variety, each pain, so to speak, taking fire from another and re-endowing that which has enkindled it with a still fiercer flame. – James Joyce

Fall if you will but rise you must. – James Joyce

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

Can’t bring back time. Like holding water in your hand. – James Joyce

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. – James Joyce

If he had smiled why would he have smiled? To reflect that each one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be first, last, only and alone whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating in and repeated to infinity. – 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. – 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. – James Joyce

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. – James Joyce

All Moanday, Tearday, Wailsday, Thumpsday, Frightday, Shatterday. – James Joyce

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. – James Joyce

Love, yes. Word known to all men. – James Joyce

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 calls 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 defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning. – James Joyce

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

We are bound together by the sympathy of our antipathies. – James Joyce

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. – James Joyce

Time’s ruins build eternity’s mansions. – James Joyce

I desire to press in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the world. – James Joyce

People trample over flowers, yet only to embrace a cactus. – James Joyce

Oh Ireland my first and only love Where Christ and Caesar are hand in glove! – James Joyce

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. – James Joyce

She would follow, her dream of love, the dictates of her heart that told her he was her all in all, the only man in all the world for her for love was the master guide. Come what might she would be wild, untrammelled, free. – James Joyce

Shaw’s works make me admire the magnificent tolerance and broadmindedness of the English. – James Joyce

Share Your Opinion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.