From "The Dead" in "Dubliners" to "Ulysses" to "Finnegan's Wake," James Joyce quotes carry wisdom on everything from love to writing. They also include some quick wit and fabulous lines about Ireland and about life.

On June 16, Ireland and the world celebrate Bloomsday, a day commemorating James Joyce and the events of his novel “Ulysses,” a novel set on June 16, 1904.

Annually in Ireland and in Irish communities around the world this literary genius’ most famous work with which follows peripatetic appointments and encounters of Leopold Bloom in Dublin in the course of an ordinary day.

In celebration of Bloomsday and one of Ireland’s most important literary figures we took a look at some of the most popular, from the many, quotes of James Joyce:


“Mistakes are the portals of discovery."

“A nation is the same people living in the same place.”

“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.”
“So it returns. Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”

All dressed up on Dublin for Bloomsday.

All dressed up on Dublin for Bloomsday.

“James Joyce: Occasional, Critical and Political Writing.”

“When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.”

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

"The Dead."

“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.”

Joyce's reply to a request for a plan of “Ulysses.”

“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.”

A Dublin Bloomsday. Image:

A Dublin Bloomsday. Image:

"James Clarence Mangan" (1902).

“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.”

Selected letters of James Joyce.

“No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet, no inclination.”

Interview with Max Eastman in Harper's Magazine.

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

Giacomo Joyce (1968).

“My words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through a quagmire.”

A statue of James Joyce in Dublin.

A statue of James Joyce in Dublin.

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”

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

Letter to Augusta Gregory (November 22, 1902)

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

Letter to Fanny Guillermet (Zurich, September 5, 1918).

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

Have we missed your favorite James Joyce quote? Let us know what it is in the comments section, below. 

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* Originally published in 2015.