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by James Joyce

Ulysses Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph), except for the "Circe" episode, which is (Chapter.Line) and the "Penelope" episode, which is (Chapter.Page). We used the Vintage International edition published in 1990.

Quote #1

Thought is the thought of thought. (2.35)

This is a thought of Stephen's as he speculates on Aristotle and remembers his time in Paris in the episode "Nestor." Does this mean that thought can only lead to other thoughts and thus never actually sets a foot in the world? For example, when I think about a bicycle am I only thinking about a thought-bicycle (distinct from bicycles in the real world) or am I actually thinking about that thing in the world that we call a bicycle? If you have some time to kill, mull through the Gifford annotations around this passage and see what you can work out. Maybe it's more moderate. Thought is always different than things in the world, but is still somehow connected with them. How can you describe the relationship between thought and the world? Language and the world?

Quote #2

His shadow lay over the rocks as he bent, ending. Why not endless till the farthest star? Darkly they are there behind this light, darkness shining in the brightness, delta of Cassiopeia, worlds. Me sits there with his augur's rod of ash, in borrowed sandals, by day beside a livid sea, unbeheld, in violet night walking beneath a reign of uncouth stars. I throw this ended shadow from me, manshape ineluctable, call it back. Endless, would it be mine, form of my form? Who watches me here? Who ever anywhere will read these written words? Signs on a white field. Somewhere to someone in your flutiest voice. The good bishop of Cloyne took the veil of the temple out of his shovel hat: veil of space with coloured emblems hatched on its field. Hold hard. Coloured on a flat: yes, that's right. Flat I see, then think distance, near, far, flat I see, east, back. Ah, see now. Falls back suddenly, frozen in stereoscope. Click does the trick. You find my words dark. Darkness is in our souls, do you not think? Flutier. Our souls, shame-wounded by our sins, cling to us yet more, a woman to her lover clinging, the more the more. (3.78)

This quote gives a good sense of the stream-of-consciousness style in "Proteus." When we first read this, we thought this sounded like the thoughts of a man who had devoured encyclopedias and now had his mind on at full blast, as if he were hyped up on amphetamines or something. Do you find this an accurate portrayal of thought? If not accurate, what advantages does it have over the more traditional monologue form where the author is obligated to write in complete sentences? In what ways does Stephen associate goodness with being dark instead of bright?

Quote #3

"- Bosh!" Stephen said rudely. "A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery." (9.90)

In "Scylla and Charybdis," this is Stephen's response to John Eglinton's contention that Shakespeare made a mistake by marrying Ann Hathaway. There are two real statements here. First, a man of genius makes his errors by choice. Second, a man of genius can turn his errors into portals of discovery. Which of these do you agree with, if any? To what extent might Stephen's view of the artist be motivated by his own experience? What particular mistake of Stephen's might he have in mind? How is the fact that Stephen's life informs his theory actually a support of his theory that the artist and his work are inseparable?

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