James Joyce, Stephen Hero (1944) [Chaps. XV to XXVI]: Some Extracts

Source: James Joyce, Stephen Hero [1944], Part of the first draft of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. with intro. by Theodore Spencer; rev. edn. with add. material and a foreword by John J. Slocum & Herbert Cahoon (Triad Grafton Books [Collins Publ.] London: 1977, 1986], 220pp.[Chaps. XV to XXVI]. The pagination given below answers to the Triad edition of 1977.

Note: The Jonathan Cape edn. of 1956 and reps. of same begins on p.29 as compared with p.27 in the Triad Grafton edition, and ends at p.253 compared with p.220 in the other due to the smaller font and narrower lineation of the second-named edition. (Hence the Eccles St. “epiphany” falls on p.216 in the Cape edition and on p.188 in the Grafton edition. For tables of contents of each, see under James Joyce, Works, supra.
  Note too that the chapter-divisions established by Theodore Spencer have been corrected by Hans Walter Gabler on the basis that Spencer mistook a mark in Chap. XVIII Hence Chaps. XVIII and XIX are really one chapter while Chaps. XX-XXVI as given in Spencer’s edition should be read as Chaps. XIX-XXV [end]. See Gabler’s introduction to the version of Stephen Hero in the James Joyce Archive (Garland Press Facsimile Edition, 1979- ).

Chap. XV:
A girl might or might not have called him handsome: the face was regular in feature and its pose was almost softened into a [positive distinct] beauty by a small feminine mouth. In [the] general survey of the face the eyes were not prominent: they were small light blue eyes which checked advances. They were quite fresh and fearless but in spite of this the face was to a certain extent the face of a debauchee. [27;]

Madden … Stephen remarked the peasant strength of his jaws [28]

He read Skeat’s Etymological Dictionary by the hour and his mind, which had from the first been only too submissive to the infant sense of wonder, was often hypnotized by the most commonplace conversation. People seemed to him strangely ignorant of the value of the words they used so glibly. And pace by pace as this indignity of life forced itself upon him he became enamoured of an idealizing, a more veritably human tradition. The phenomenon seemed to him a grave one and he began to [29] see that people had leagued themselves together in a conspiracy of ignobility … he desired no such reduction for himself and preferred to serve her [Destiny] on the ancient terms. [30]

Stephen’s style of writing, [that] though it was over affectionate towards the antique and even the obselete and too easily rhetorical, was remarkable for a certain crude originality of expression. [30]

Stephen laided down his very positively and insisted on the importance of what he called the literary tradition. Words, he said, have a certain value in the literary tradition and a certain value in the marketplace - a debased value. [30; Cape Edn. 33]

The monster in Stephen had lately taken to misbehaving himself and on the least provocation was ready for bloodshed … the episode of religious fervour which was fast becoming a memory had resulted in a certain outward self-control which was now found to be very useful. [32]

… His reluctance to debate scandal, to seem impolitely curious of others, aided him in his real indictment and was not without a satisfactory flavour of the heroic [32]

He got down off the tram at Amiens St Station instead of going on to the Pillar because he wished to partake in the morning life of the city. this morning walk was pleasant for him and there was no [32] face that passed him on its way to its commercial prison but he strove to pierce to the motive centre of its ugliness. It was with a feeling of gloomy pleasure that he entered the Green and saw the gloomy building of the college. [33]

He was determined to fight with every energy of soul and body against any possible consignment to what he now regarded as the hell of hells - the region, otherwise expressed, wherein everything is found to be obvious … schooled himself in silence [33]

He said to himself: I must wait for the Eucharist to come to me: and then he set about translating the phrase into common-sense. He spent days and nights hammering noisily as he built a house of silence for himself wherein he might await his Eucharist

Chap. XVI:
He read Blake and Rimbaud on the value of letters and even permutated the five vowels to construct cires form primitive emotions. [34]

Isolation is the first principle of artistic economy [34]

He doubled back into the past of humanity and caught glimpses of emergent art as one might have a vision of the plesiosaurus emerging from his ocean of slime. He seemed almost to hear the simple cries of fear and joy and wonder which are antecedent to all song, the savage rhythms of men pulling at an oar, to see the rude scrawls and portable gods of men whose legacy Leonardo and Michelangelo inherit. And over all this chaos of history and legend, fact and supposition, he strove to draw out a line of order, to reduce the abysses of the past to order by diagram. [34]

The young men in the college considered art a continental vice … really art was all ‘rot’ … they didn’t want that kind of thing in their country [35]

It was part of that ineradicable egoism that he was afterwards to call his redeemer that he conceived converging to him all the deeds and thoughts of the microcosm. Is the mind of youth medieval that it is so divining of intrigue? [35]

This fantastic idealist … he flung them distain from his flashing antlers [36] … the rapidly indurating shield [36]

Indeed he felt the morning in his blood: he was aware of some movement already proceeding out in Europe. Of this last phrase he was fond for it seeemd to him to unroll the measurable world before the feet of the islanders. Nothing could persuade him that the world was such as Father Butt’s students conceived it. He had no need for the cautions which were named indispensable, no reverence for the proprieties which were called the bases of life. He was an enigmatic figure in the midst of his shivering soceity where he enjoyed a reputation … [36]

On his side chastity, having been found a great inconvenience, had been quietly abandoned [36]

… possible to arrive at a sane understanding of so-called mysteries if one only had patience enough. … building an entire science of aesthetics [37; Cape 41]

The spectacle of the world which his intelligence presented to him with every sordid and deceptive detail set side by side with the spectacle of the world which the monster in him, now grown to a reasonably heroic stage, presented also had often filled him with such sudden despair as could only be assuaged by melancholic versing. He had all but decided to consider the two worlds as alien to one another … when he encountered … Henrik Ibsen. He understood that spirit instantaneously. … the minds of the old Norse poet and the young Celt met in a moment of radiant simultaneity. [41; Cape 45]

The damp Dublin winter seemed to harmonize with his inward sense of unreadiness and he did not follow the least of feminine provocations through tortuous, unexpected ways any more zealously than he followed through ways even less satisfying the nimble movements of the elusive one. What was that One: arms of love that has not love’s malignity, laughter running upon the mountains of the morning, an [38] hour wherein might be encountered the incommunicable? And if he heart but trembled an instant at some approach to that he would cry, youthfully, passionately ‘It is so! it is so! Life is such as I conceive it.’ He spurned from before him the state maxims of the Jesuits … he spurned from before him the company of [the] decrepit youth … [39]

… before the swampy beach a big dog was recumbent [39]

a serious young feminist McCann - a blunt brisk figure, wearing a Cavalier beard and shooting-suit, and a steadfast reader of the Review of Reviews [Skeffington]. [39]

[The Sheehy household] a house in Donnybrook the atmosphere of which was compact of liberal patriotism and orthodox study … serveral marriagable daughters … In spite of the entire absence of sympathy between this circle and himself Stephen was very much at ease in it and he was as they bade him be, very much ‘at home’ as he sat on the sofa counting the lumps of horsehair [43] … In this house it was the custom to call a young visitor by his Christian name a little too soon and though Stephen was spared the compliment, McCann was never spoken as anything but Phil … [44] … The Miss Daniels were not as imposing as their father and their dress was somewhat colleen. Jesus, morever, exposed his heart somewhat to obviously in the cheap print: and Stephen; thoughts were usually fascinated to a pleasant stupor by these twin futilities. [45]

No such suggests [as an ‘affair of the heart’ with one of the Daniel girls] could be seriously made by the company to fit Stephen’s case … [46] … rural comeliness of her [one of the daughters] features … [46] [NB also ‘Mr Daniel could say as much,’ 83: comparing with the emasculated Debating Soc. at NUI].

Stephen now imagined that he had explored this region sufficiently and would have discontinued his visits [except for the arrival of Miss Clery] [46] … she seemed on her part to include him in the general scheme of her nationalizing charm [47]

Chap. XVII:
His family expected that he would at once follow the path of remunerative respectability and save the situation but he could not satisfy his family. He thanked their intention: it had first fulfilled him with egoism; and he rejoiced that his life had been so self-centred. He felt [also] however that there were activities which it would be a peril to postpone. [48]

McCann’s puritanism [49-51] [Stephen] almost trembled to think of that unhorizoned doggedness working its way backwards. [51]

[Madden and Stephen] … the rustic mind of one was very forcibly impressed by the metropolitanism of the other … [51]

The Roman, not the Sassenach, was for him the tyrant of the islanders; and so deeply had the tyranny eaten into all souls that the intelligence, first overborne so arrogantly, was no eager to prove that arrogance its friend. The watchcry was Faith and Fatherland, a sacred word in that world of cleverly inflammable enthusiasm. …. the multitude of preachers ensured them that high honours were on the way … and in reward for several centuries of obscure fidelity the Pope’s Holiness had presented a tardy cardinal to an island which was for him, perhaps, only the afterthought of Europe. [52]

[Stephen’s exchange with Madden/Davin about Irish peasants:] “The English intelligence of an English city is not perhaps at a very high level but at least it is higher than the mental swamp of the Irish peasant.” [ 53]

[Stephen on Maurice’s cheerful agnosticism] It seemed to him that anyone who could contemplate the condition of his soul in such a prosaic manner was not worthy of the freedom and was fit only for the severest shackles of the Church. [57]

The Gaelic Class [58-60] Hughes [and see his poem, ‘My Ideal,’ 77]; The Citizen, Michael Cusack [59] the irreconcilables [59] As in the Daniels’ household he had seen people playing at being important so here he saw people playing at being free. [59-60]

Stephen’s conversation with Madden on Government and Insurrection [60ff.] “What I say I see about me. The publicans and the pawnbrokers who live on the miseries of the people spend part of the money they make in sending their sons and daughters into religion to pray for them. … /It’s a contradiction in terms, what I call a systematic compensation.’ [63]”

[Fr Moran, Emma’s pet priest] … altogether looked such a pleasant-hearted vulgarian that Stephen felt inclined to slap him on the back admiringly. [63]

[Emma] compact of pleasure … Her loud forced manners shocked him at first until his mind had thoroughly mastered the stupidity of hers. … he congratulated himself that he had caught the impression of her when she was at her finest moment. … even that warm ample body could hardly compensate him for her distressing pertness and middle-class affectations. [65; Cape Edn. 71-72]

They smiled at each other; and again in the centre of her amiableness he discerned a [centre] point of illwill and he suspected that by her code of honour she was obliged to insist on the forbearance of the male and to despise him for forbearing. [65; Cape Edn. 73; cf. AP78-9]

[Clonliffe] As Stephen looked at the big aware block of masonry looming before them through faint daylight, he reentered again in thought the seminarist life which he had led for so many years, to the understanding of the narrow activities to which he could now in a moment bring the spirit of an acute sympathetic alien. He recognised at once the martial mind of the Irish Church in the style of this ecclesiastical barracks. He looked in vain at the faces and figures which passed him for a token of moral elevation: all were cowed without being humble, modish without being simple-mannered …

… Stephen felt somewhat indignant that anyone should expect him to entrust spiritual difficulties to such a confessor or to receive with pious feelings any sacrament or benediction from the hands of the young students whom he saw walking the grounds. [69]

… the incompatibility of two natures, one trained to repressive enforcement of a creed, the other equipped with a vision the angle of would never adjust itself for the reception of hallucinations and with an intelligence which was as much in love with laughter as with combat. [70]

The mist of evening had begun to thicken into slow fine rain …

Chap. XVIII:
Stephen’s paper was fixed for the second Saturday in March. […] His forty days were consumed in aimless solitary walks during which he forged out his sentences. In this manner he had his whole essay in his mind from the first word to the last before he had put any morsel of it on paper. […] much hampered by the sitting posture […; 74.]

[Note: Theodore Spencer imposes an erroneous chapter division at this point.]

Chap XIX [correctly part of Chap. XVIII]:
Stephen had a thorough-going manner in many things: his essay was not in the least the exhibition of polite accomplishments. it was on the contrary very seriously intended to define his own position for himself. He could not persuade himself that, if he wrote about his subject with facility or treated it from any standpoint of impression, good would come of it. On the other hand he was persuaded that no-one served the generation into which he had been born so well as he who offered it, whether in his art or in his life, the gift of certitude. The programme of the patriots filled him with very reasonable doubts; its articles could obtain no intellectual assent from him. He knew, moreover, that concordance with it would mean for him a submission of everything else in its interest and that he would thus be obliged to corrupt the springs of speculation at their very source. He refused therefore to set out for any task if he had first to prejudice his success by oaths to his patria and this refusal resulted in a theory of art which was at once severe and liberal. [72]

… a genuine predisposition in favour of all but the premisses of scholasticism. [72]

He proclaimed at the outset that art was the human disposition that art was the human disposition of intelligible or sensible matter for an esthetic end, and he announced further that all such human dispositions must fall into the divisions of three distinct natural kinds, lyrical epical and dramatic. Lyrical art, he said, is the art whereby the artist sets forth his image in immedate relation to himself; epical art is the art whereby the artist sets forth his image in immediate relation to himself and to others; and dramatic art is the art whereby the artist sets forth his image in immedate relation to others. [72]

Having by this simple process established the literary form of art as the most excellent he proceeded … to establish the relations which must subsist between the literary image, the work of art itself, and that energy which had imagined and fashioned it, that centre of conscious, re-acting, particular life, the artist. [73]

The term literature now seemed to him a term of contempt and he used it to designate the vast middle region which lies between apex and base, between poetry and the chaos of unremembered writing. Its merit lay in its portrayal of externals; the realm of its princes was the realm of the manners and the customs of society - a spacious realm … [SH73]

The artist, he imagined, standing in the position of mediator between the world of experience and the world of dreams - a mediator, consequently gifted with twin faculties, a selective faculty and a reproductive faculty … the perfect coincidence of the two artistic faculties Stephen called poetry [and the rest the coneshaped domain of] ‘literature’.

… the artist who could disentangle the subtle soul of the image from its mesh of defining cirumstances 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.

The romantic temper … is an insecure, unsatisfied, impatient temper which sees no fit abode here for its ideals and chooses therefore to behold them under insensible figures. As a result of this [73] choice it comes to disregard certain limitations. Its figures are blown to wild adventures, lacking the gravity of solid bodies, and the mind that has conceived them ends by disowning them. The classical temper, on the other hand, ever mindful of its limitations, chooses rather to bend upon those present things and so work upon them and fashion them that the quick intelligence may go beyond them to their meaning which is still unuttered. In this method the sane and joyful spirit issues forth and achieves an imperishible perfection, nature assisting with her goodwill and thanks. For so long as this place in nature is given us, it is right that art should do no violence to the gift. [74]

The city of the arts … marvellously unpeaceful … To many spectators the dispute seemed a dispute about names, a battled in which the position of the standards could never be foretold in for a minute. Add to this internecine warfare - the classical school fighting the materialism that must attend it, the romantic school struggling to preserve coherence - and behold from what ungentle manners criticism is bound to recognise the emergence of all achievement. [The probable context of these remarks is the Daily Express controversary of 1899; see Louis MacNeice, The Poetry of W B Yeats , 1941).

… The critic is he who is able, by means of the signs which the artist affords, to approach the temper which has made there work and to see what is well done therein and what it signifies. [74]

But to approach the temper which has made an art is an act of reverence before the performance of which many conventions must be first put off for certainly that inmost region will never yield its secret to one who is enmeshed in profanities. [74]

Chief among these profanities Stephen set the antique principle that the end of art is to instruct, elevate, and to amuse. … this Puritan conception [74] … the taking off of all interdictions from the artist. [75]

It is as absurd … for a criticism itself established upon homilies to prohibit the elective courses of the artist in his revelation of the beautiful as it would be for a police-magistrate to prohibit the sum of any two sides of a triangle from being together greater than the third side. [75]

The poet is the intense centre of the life of his age to which he stands in a relation than which none can be more vital. He alone is capable of absorbing in himself the life that surrounds him and of flinging it abroad again amid planetary music. … it is time for the critics to verify their calculations in accordance with [this phenomenon] … to acknowledge that here the imagination has contemplated intensely the truth of the being of the visible world and that beauty, the splendour of truth, has been born. [75]

The age though it bury itself fathoms deep in formulas and machinery has need of these realities which alone can give and sustain life and it must await from those chosen centres of vivification the force to live, the security for life which can come to it only from them. Thus the spirit of man makes continual affirmation. [75]

… change[d] the name from ‘Drama and Life’ to ‘Art and Life’.

[Joyce translates An Claidheamh Soluis as Sword, 76]

‘Art thou real, my Ideal?/Wilt thou ever come to me/In the soft and gentle twilight/With your baby on your knee?’ … the ludicrous waddling approach of Hughes’s ‘Ideal’ weighed [77] down by an inexplicable infant … caused him a sharp agony … he decided that attendance in Mr Hughes’ class was no longer possible … [78]

… a more highly organized life [78]

His mother who had never suspected probably that beauty could be anything more than a convention of the drawingroom or a natural antecedent to marriage and married life was surprised to see the extraordinary honour which her son conferred upon it. Beauty, to the mind of such a woman, was often a synonym for licentious ways and probably for this reason she was relieved to find that the excesses of this new workshop were supervised by a recognized saintly authority. [78]

[Stephen to his mother] ‘Art is not an escape from life …. on the contrary, [it] is the very central expression of life. …’ [78]

[John Stanislaus] he condemned as inopportune but not discredited his son’s wayward researches into strange literature and, though a similar taste was not discoverable in him, he was prepared to commit that most pious of heroisms, namely, the extension of one’s sympathies late in life in deference to the advocacy of a junior. [81]

[Joyce’s lengthy characterisation of his mother and father is partly sardonic, partly affectionate, and altogether bad writing] … from neither of Stephen’s parents did respectability get full adherence. [82]

Stephen’s interview with the President [takes him to task for self-contradiction in point of holding Dante and Ibsen incomparable and then comparing them:] the lack of a specific code of moral conventions does not degrade the poet, in my opinion. [85]

‘But what if I, as an artist, refuse to accept the cautions which are considered necessary for those who are still in a state of original stupidity?’ [88]

[Director:] ‘ Estheticism often begins well only to end in the vilest abominations of which …
- ad pulchritudinem tria requiruntur .
- It is insidious, it creeps into the mind, little by little …
- Integritas, consonantia, claritas. There seems to me … to be effulgence in that theory instead of danger. The intelligent nature apprehends it at once.
- S. Thomas of course …
- Aquinas is certinly on the side of the capable artist. I hear no mention of instruction or elevation.
- To support Ibsenism on Aquinas seems to me somewhat paradoxical. Young men often substitute brilliant paradox for conviction.
- My theory has led me nowhere. My theory states itself.


- I use the word “classical” in a certain sense, with a certain definite meaning, that is all.
- But you cannot use any terminology you like.
- I have not changed the terms. I have explained them. By “classical” I mean the slow elaborate patience of the art of satisfaction. The heroic, the fabulous, I call romantic. [89; Cape . 101-02.]

President: ‘I do not predict much success for your advocacy in this country … Our people have their faith and they are happy. They are faithful to their Chirch and the Church is sufficient for them.’

Chap. XX [correctly Chap. XIX]:
The essay was pronounced a jingle of meaningless words, a clever presentation of the vicious principles in the guise of artistic theories, a reproduction of the decadent literary opinions of exhausted European capitals … They wanted no foreign filth … the Irish people had their own glorious literature where they could always find fresh ideals to spur them on to new patriotic endeavours. Mr Dedalus himself was a renegade from the Nationalist ranks: he professed cosmopolitanism. But a man that was of all countries was of no country - you must first have a nation before you have art [Hughes; cf. Patrick Pearse] [95]

Fr Butt: ‘… it was a new sensation for him to hear Thomas Aquinas quoted as an authority on esthetic philosophy … a modern branch and if it was anything at all, it was practical. Aquinas had treated slightly of the beautiful but always from a theoretic standpoint. To interpret his statements practically one needed a fuller knowledge … ‘ [96].

[Dedalus Snr] … the suspicion that the burden of responsibility which he had piously imposed on his eldest son’s shoulders was beginning to irk that young man troubled his vision of the future. … this slight thread of union between father and son had been worn away by the usages of daily life and, by reason of its tenuity and of the [failure] gradual rustinesss which had begun to consume the upper station, it bore fewer and feebler messages along it. [101]

[Dedalus Snr] was quite capable of talking himself into believing what he know to be untrue. He knew his own ruin had been his own handiwork, but he had talked himself into believing that it had been the handiwork of others. He had his son’s distaste for responsibility without his son’s courage. He was one of those illogical wiseacres with whom no evidence could outreason the first impression. His wife had fulfilled her duties to him with startling literalness and yet she had never been able to expiate the offence of her blood. Misunderstanding such as this, which is accepted as natural in higher social grades, is wrongly refused recognition in the burgher class where it is often found to issue in feuds of insatiable, narrow hatred. Mr Dedalus hated his wife’s maiden name with a medieval intensity: it stank in his nostrils. His alliance therewith was the only sin of which, in the entire honesty of his cowardice, he could accuse himself. Now that he was making for the final decades of his life with the painful consciousness of having diminished comfortable goods and of having accumulated uncomfortable habits he consoled and revenged himself by tirades so prolonged and so often repeated that he was in danger of becoming a monomaniac. The hearth at night was the sacred witness of these revenges, pondered, muttered, growled, and execrated. The exception which his clemency had originally made in favour of his wife was soon out of mind and she began to irritate him by her dutiful symbolism. [101]

His son’s notion of aristocracy was not the one which he could sympathize with … [102]

The only material services that [Stephen] would refuse them [his parents] were those which he judged to be spiritually dangerous and it is as well to admit that this exception all but nullified his charity for he had cultivated an independence of soul which could brook few subjections. [102]

… commandment of obedience … the life of Jesus did not in any way impress him [with] as the narrative of the life of one who was subject to others … the figure of Jesus had always seemed to him too remote and passionless … his enfranchisement from the discipline of the Church seemed to be coincident with an instinctive return to the Founder thereof and this impulse would have led him to a consideration of the merits of Protestantism had not another natural impulse inclined him to bring even the self-contradictory and absurd into order. [103]

[Stephen construes Easter liturgy as drama] … the Reader who begins the Mass [of the Pre-sanctified] … no one knows where he comes from … he closes the book and goes away as he came … Isn’t he strange? [107]

[Jesus] An ugly little man who has taken into his body the sins of the world. Something between Socrates and a Gnostic Christ … That’s what his mission of redemption has got for him: a crooked ugly body for which neither God nor man have pity. [107]

[Holy Saturday] … the Church seems to have thought the matter over and to be saying, ‘Well, after all, you see, it’s morning now and he wasn’t as dead as we thought he was. … [107]

[At the Pro-Cathedral] … the chapel with its polished benches and incandescent lamps reminded him of an insurance office. [108]

[Cranly] instanced all the German who had made small fortunes in Dublin by opening pork-shops. … Kranliberg [109]

[In Gardiner St. Church] in saw the … flattered affection for the Jesuits who are in the habit of attaching to their order the souls of thousands of the insecurely respectable middle-class by offering them a refined asylum, an interested, a considerate confessional, a particular amiableness of manners which their spiritual adventures in no way entitled them to.

Chap. XXI [correctly Chap. XX]:
… regard himself as literary artist … professed scorn for the rabblement [112]

[Cranly] had all the rustic’s affection for the prosaic things of the six days of the week and … lacked the hypocritcal taste which the rustic affectes for the fine arts of the seventh day. [113]

… the Church would not be overhasty in condemning vagaries … [112] so long as her ground rent was paid quarterly in advance. [113]

[Cranly’s point of resemblance to Stephen] was fond of leading a philosophical argument back to the machinery of the intellectual faculty itself and in mundane matters he did likewise, testing everything by its food value. [113-14]

[Isabel] She had acquiesced in the religion of her mother … If she lived she had exactliy the temper for a Catholic wife of limited intelligence and of pious docility and if she died she was supposed to have earned her place in the eternal Heaven of Christians … Her life had always been and would always be a trembling walk before God. [115]

Stephen had felt impulses of pity for his mother, for his father, for Isabel, for Wells also but he believed that he had done right in resisting them: he had first of all to save himself and he had no business trying to save others unless his experiment with himself was justified. [116]

[Stephen declares his apostasy to his mother, 120-124]

[On Lynch] He execrated in yellow in protest against the sanguinary adjective … and, to describe the hymeneal tract, he had one invariable term. He called it oracle and all within its frontiers he called oracular. The term was considered distinguished in his circle and he was careful never to explain the process which had discovered it. [124; and cf. ‘inclined for oracle,’ 172]

[Stephen announces his apostasy to Cranly:] ‘I have left the Church [125] … I insist on disobeying the Church. I will submit no longer … [127] … I will not be frightened into paying tribute in moneyor in thought … You mustn’t think I rhapsodize: I am quite serious. I speak from my soul … from my soul, my spiritual nature [129] … Enough! … I will take the odds as they are. [130]

But what is the Church? It is not Jesus, the magnificent solitary with his inimitable abstinences. The Church is made by me and my like - her services, legends, practices, paintings, music, traditions. These her artists gave her. They made her what she is. [130]

Chap. XXII [correctly Chap. XXI]:
Cranly’s rusticity … [131]

These wanderings filled him with a deep-seated anger and whenever he encountered a burly black-vested priest taking a stroll of pleasant inspection through these warrens full of swarming and cringing believers he cursed the farce of Irish Catholicism: an island [whereof] the inhabitants of which entrusted their wills and mind to other that they might ensure for themselves a life of spiritual paralysis, an island in which all the power and riches are in the keeping of those whose kingdom is not of this world, an island in which Caesar [professes] confesses Christ and Christ confesses Caesar that together they may wax fat upon a starveling rabblement which is bidden ironically to take to iself this consolation in hardship ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’. [132; 151 Cape Edn .]

… the dangers of being [132] a demagogue … [yet] he could not take to his heart the distress of a nation, the soul of which was antipathetic to his own … He wished to express his nature freeling and fully for the benefit of a society which he would enrich and also for his own benefit, seeing that it was part of his life to do so. [133]

The idea that the power of an empire is weakest at its borders requires some modification … in many cases the government of an empire is strongest at its borders and is invariably so when its power at the centre is on the wane … it will perhaps be a considerable time before Ireland will be able to understand that the Papacy is no longer going through a period of anabolism … [133] … the persistence of Catholic power in Ireland must intensify very greatly the loneliness of the Irish Catholic who voluntarily outlaws himself out of so strong and intricate a tyranny may often be sufficient to place him beyond the region of reattraction. [134]

conversation on the modern school of Irish writers - a subject of which Stephen knew nothing [134]

Moynihan … extremely ugly young man [135]; Daedalus Snr. and the degeneration of the household, 136-37]

[Stephen to Emma:] I wish you would go to confession with me, Emma, said Stephen from his heart … I would forgive you and make you promise to commit them every time you liked … [139; Cape edn. 159]

He remembered almost every word she had said from the first time he had met her and he strove to recall any word which might reveal the presence of a spiritual principle in her worthy of so significant a name as soul … strove to locate a physical principle in [her body]; but he could not. [141]

… the digestive value of the sacraments. [141]

The longing for a mad night of love came upon him, a desperate willingness to cast his soul away, his life and his art, and to bury them all with her under fathoms of lust-laden slumber. [143]

The spirits of Moynihan and O’Neill and Glynn seemed to him worthy of … a hell which would be a caricature of Dante’s.

[Viz.,] The spirit of patriotic and religious enthusiasts seemed to him fit to inhabit the fraudulent circles where hidden in hives of immaculate ice they might work their bodies into the due pitch of frenzy. The spirits of the tame sodalists … he would petrify amid a ring of Jesuits in the circle of foolish and grotesque virginities … [143]

The vision of all those failures, and the vision, far more pitiful, of congenital lives, shuffling onwards amid yawn and howl, beset him with evil … [146-7]

[Epiphany, ‘The hole we all have …’, 146-47]

Chap. XXIII [correctly Chap. XXII]:
Stephen felt very acutely the futility of his sister’s life. … The supposition of an allwise God [148] calling a soul home whenever it seemed good to Him could not redeem in his eyes the futility of her life. The wasted body … had existed by sufferance: the spirit that dwelt therein had literally never dared to live and had not learned anything by an abstention which it had not willed for itself. [149]

One of the boys’ uncles was a very shock-headed asthmatic man who had been in his youth rather indiscreet with his landlady’s daughter and the family had been scarcely appeased by a tardy marriage. [?Bob Doran, 149]

Glasnevin epiphany [150] A priest with a great toad-like belly … read [150] the service … and shook the aspergill drowsily over the coffin … [The gravediggers take their courtesy drinks]

They all chose pints and indeed their own bodily tenements were not unlike hardily used pewter measures … [151; … /…/] The inexpressibly mean way in which his sister had been buried inclined Stephen to consider rather seriously the claims of water and fire to be the last homes of dead bodies. … No young man, specialized by fate or her step-daughter chance for an organ of sensitiveness and intellectiveness, can contemplate the network [151] of falsities and trivialities which make up the funeral of a dead burgher without extreme disgust. [152]

… the acme of unconvincingness [McCann] [152]

Artifoni: ‘… Bruno was a terrible heretic’ … Stephen: ‘… he was terribly burned.’ … unable to associate audacity of thought with any temper but that of the irrendist. [153]

Cf. “It’s all the fault of those books and the company you aakeep. Out at all hours of the night instead of in your home, the proper place for you. I’ll burn every one of them. I won’t have them in the house to corrupt anyone else.

Stephen halted at the door and turned towards his mother who had broken into tears.

- if you were a genuine Roman Catholic, mother, you would burn me as well as the books. […; Cape edn. p.140.]

[Mimesis] For Stephen art was neither a copy nor an imitation of nature: the artistic process was a natural process. In all his talk about artistic perfection it was impossible to detect an artificial accent. To talk about the perfection of one’s art was not for him to talk about something agreed up as sublime but in reality no more than a sublime convention but rather to talk [about] a veritably sublime process of one’s nature which had a right to examination and open discussion. [154]

The faces … all bore the stamp of Jesuit training. … They admired Gladstone , physical science and the tragedies of Shakespeare: and they believed in the adjustment of Catholic teaching to everyday needs, in the Church diplomatic. Without displaying an English desire for an aristocracy of substance they held violent measures to be unseemly and in their relations among themselves and towards their superiors they displayed a nervous and (whenever there was a question of authority) a very English liberalism. They respected spiritual and temporal authorities, the spiritual authorities of Catholicism and patriotism, and the temporal authorities of the hierarchy and the government. The memory of Terence MacManus was not less revered by then than the memory of Cardinal Cullen. If the call to a larger and nobler life [155] ever came to them they heard it with secret gladness but always they decided to defer their lives until a favourable moment because they felt unready. [156]

[Stephen’s on love-poetry:] found himself compelled to use what he called the feudal terminology and as he could not use it with the same faith and purpose as animated the feudal poets themselves he was compelled to express his love a little ironically. This suggestion of relativity, he said, mingling itself with so immune a passage is a modern note: we cannot [156] swear or expect eternal fealty because we recognise too accurately the limits of every human energy. It is not possible for the modern lover to think the universe an assistant at his love-affair and modern love, losing somewhat of its fierceness, gains somewhat in aimiableness. [157]

marsupials [158]

[At Marsh’s Library] He had found on one of the carts of books near the river an unpublished book containing two stories by W.B. Yeats. One of these stories was called the Tables of the Law and in it was mentioned the fabulous preface which Joachim, abbot of Flora, is said to have prefixed to his Eternal Gospel. … the whole story of the Tables of the Law, every word of which he remembered. … … He satisfied himself by leading Lynch round the enclosure of Stephen’s Green and making that young man very awkward by reciting Mr Yeats’s story with careful animation. [159]

Stephen was a lover of the deformations wrought by dusk. Late autumn and winter in Dublin are always season of damp gloomy weather. He went through the streets at night intoning phrases to himself. He repeated often the story of The Tables of the Law and the story of The Adoration of the Magi . The atmosphere of these stories was heavy with incense and omens and the figures of the monk-errants, Ahern and Michael Robertes strode through them wtih great strides. Their speechs were like the enigmas of a disdainful Jesus; their morality was infrahuman or superhuman: the ritual they laid such store by was so incoherent and heterogeneous, so strange a mixture of trivialities and sacred practices that it could be recognized as the ritual of men who had received from the hands of high priests, [who had been] anciently guilty of some arrogance of the spirit, a confused and dehumanized tradition, a mysterious ordination. Civilisation may indeed be said to be the creation of its outlaws but the least protesft against the existing order is made by the outlaws whose creed and manner of life is not renewable even so far as to be reactionary. These inhabit a church apart; they lift their thuribles wearily before their deserted altars; they live beyond the region of mortality, having chosen to fulful the law of their own being. A young man like Stephen in such a season of damp and unrest [had] has no pains to believe in their existence. They lean pitifully above towards the earth, like vapours, desirous of sin, remembering the pride of their origin, calling to others to come to them. Stephen was fondest of repeating to himself this beautiful passage from The [160] Tables of the Law: Why do you fly from our torches which were made out of the wood of the trees under which Christ wept in the gardens of Gethsemene. Why do you fly from our torches which were made from the sweet wood after it had vanished from the world and come to us who made it of old tunes with our breath? [161]

Cf. 172, where Stephen quotes, ‘when the immortals wish to overthrow the things that are today and to bring the things that were yesterday they have no-one to help them except one whom the things that are today have cast out.’]

A certain extravagance began to tinge his life. He was aware that though he was nominally in amity with the order of society into which he had been born, he would not be able to continue so. The life of an errant seemed to him far less ignoble than the life of one who had accepted the tyranny of the mediocre because the cost of being exceptional was too high. [161]

Chap. XXIV [correctly Chap. XXIII]:
[The college magazine contains] a long article by Hughes on The Future of the Celt [163] … protected seminarist life [164] … modish and timid ways … [165]

… an art of gesture … I mean a rhythm [165]

Jesus had a very pure tragic manner … Do you imagine the Church could have erected such elaborate artistic sacraments about his legend unless the original figure had been one of a certain tragic majesty? [166]

The modern spirit is vivisective. Vivisection itself is the most modern process one can conceive. … The modern method examines its territory by the light of day … Italy has added a science to civilisation by putting out the lantern of justice and considering the criminal in production and in action. All modern political and religious criticism dispenses with presumptive States, presumptive Redeemers and Churches. It examines the entire community in action and reconstructs the spectacle of redemption. If you were an esthetic philosopher you would take note of all my vagaries because here you have the spectacle of the esthetic instinct. The philosophic college should spare a detective for me. [167]

The toy life which the Jesuits permit these docile young men to live is what I call a stationary march. The marionette life which the Jesuit himself lives as a dispenser of illumination and rectitude is another variety of the stationary march. [168]

… he began to wonder which was better from the literary point of view: Renan’s account of the death of Jesus or the account given by the evangelists. … Renan’s Jesus is a trifle Buddhistic but the fierce eaters and drinkers of the western world would never worship such a figure.

‘Washed in the Blood of the Lamb’ … Yew What a notion! A bloodbath to cleanse the spiritual body of all its sinful sweats … [170]

Above him and beneath and around him in the little dark dusty rooms the intellectual heart of Ireland was throbbing - young men were engaged in the pursuit of learning. Above and beneath and around him were posted Jesuits to guide the young men amid the perilous ways of knowledge. The hand of Jesuit authority was laid firmly upon that intellectual heart and if, at times, it bore too heavily thereon what a little cross was that! The young men were sensible that severity had its reasons. … / The mortifying atmosphere of the college crept about Stephen’s heart. [173] … impossible that a temperament ever trembling towards ecstasy should submit to acquiesce, that a soul should decree servitude for its portion over which the image of beauty had fallen like a mantle. [174]

For his part he was at a difficult age, dispossessed and necessitous, sensible of all that was ignoble in such manners, who, in reverie at least, had been acquainted with nobility. [173]

… in the company of these foolish and grotesque virginities! [174]

The deadly chill of the atmosphere of the college paralysed Stephen’s heart. In a stupor of powerlessness he reviewed the plague of Catholic[ism] … the vermin begotten in the catacombs issuing forth upon the plains and mountains of Europe . Like the plague of locusts described in Callista they seemed to choke the rivers and fill the valleys up. They obscured the sun. Contempt of [the body] human nature, weakness, nervous tremblings, fear of day and joy, distrust of man and life, hemiplegia of the will, beset the body burdened and disaffected in its members by its black tyrannous lice. He at least … would live his own life according to what he recognised as the voice of a new humanity, active, unafraid and unashamed. [174]

[Reciting] Machievelli … the dingy chronicle fell piecemeal from his lips, dull and wooden words. [174]

Stephen: ‘…I call those people in the college not men but vegetables’ [176]

[Stephen and Emma:] ‘Just to live one night together, Emma, and then to say goodbye in the morning and never see each other again! There is no such thing as love in the world: only people are young … .’ [Emma:] ‘You are mad, Stephen.’ … [177] [Stephen:] ‘You say that I am made because I do not bargain with you or say I love you’ /.../ He seemed to feel her soul and his falling asunder swiftly and for ever after an instant of all but union. [178]

Chap. XXV [correctly Chap. XXIV]:
[Marginal note:] Stephen wishes to avenge himself on Irish women who, he says, are the cause of all the moral suicide in the island. [179]

Stephen: A man who swears before the world to love a woman till death part him and her is sane neither in the opinion of the philisopher … nor the man of the world … . A man who swears to do something which is not in his power to do is not accounted a sane man. [180]

The Roman Catholic notion that a mans should be unswervingly continent from his boyhood and then be permitted to achieve his male nature, having first satisfied the Church as to his orthodoxy, financial condition, [and] prospects and general intentions, and having sworn before witnesses to love his wife forever whether he loved her or not and to beget children for the kingdom of heaven in such manner as the Church approved of - this notion seemed to him by no means satisfactory. [182]

nimble pleaders [182]

He could not accept wholeheartedly the offers of Protestant belief: he knew that the liberty it boasted of was often only the liberty to be slovenly in thought and amorphous in ritual. [183]

He detected Cranly’s attitude towards him a certain hostility, arising out of a thwarted desire to imitate. [186]

EPIPHANY [187-188]: The general attitude of women toward religion puzzled and often maddened Stephen. His nature was incapable of achieving such an attitude of insincerity or stupidity. By brooding constantly upon this he ended by anathemising Emma as the most deceptive and cowardly of marsupials. He discovered that it was a menial fear and no spirit of chastity which had prevented her from granting his request. Her eyes, he thought, just look stange when upraised to some holy image and her lips when poised for the reception of the host. He cursed her burgher cowardice and her beauty and he said to himself that though her eyes might cajole the half-witted God of the Roman Catholics they would not cajole him. In every stray image of the streets he saw her soul manifest itself and every such manifestation renewed the intensity of his disapproval. It did not strike him that the attitude of women towards holy things really implied a more genuine emancipation than his own and he condemned them out of a purely suppositious [sic] conscience. He exaggerated their iniquities and evil influence and returned to them their antipathy in full measure. He toyed also with a theory of dualism which would symbolize the twin eternities of spirit and nature in the twin eternities of male and female and even thought of explaining the audacities of his verse as symbolic allusion. It was hard for him to compel his head to preserve the strict temperature of classicism …

More than ever he had done before he longed for the season to lift and for spring - the misty Irish spring - to be over and gone. He was passing through Eccles’ [sic] St. one evening, one misty evening, with all these thoughts dancing the dance of unrest in his brain when a trivial incident set him composing some ardent verses which he entitled ‘Vilanelle of the Temptress.’ A young lady was standing on the steps of one of those brown brick houses which seem the very incarnation of Irish paralysis. A young gentleman was leaning on the rusty railings of the area. Stephen as he passed on his quest heard the following fragment of colloquy out of which he received an impression keen enough to afflict his sensitiveness very severely.

The Young Lady - (drawling discreetly) … O, yes … I was … at the …. cha …pel …
The Young Gentleman - (inaudible) … I … (again inaudibly … I …
The Young Lady - (softly) … O … but you’re … ve … ry … wick …ed … .

This triviality made him think of collecting many such moments together in a book of epiphanies. By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. [SH187-88; Jonathan Cape , 1956, p.216.]

[The Ballast House clock] ‘ … It is only a item in the catalogue of Dublin ’s street furniture. Then all at once I see it and I know it at once for what it is: epiphany.’ [189; Cape edn. .216.]

No esthetic theory, pursued Stephen relentlessly, is of any value which investigates with the aid of the lantern of tradition … It is almost impossible to reconcile all tradition whereas it is by no means impossible to find the justification of every form of beauty which has been adored on the earth by an examination of the mechanism of esthetic apprehension whether it be dressed in red, white, yellow or black. We have no reason for thinking that the Chinaman has a different system of digeston from that which we have though our diets are dissimilar. The apprehensive faculty must be scrutinised in action. [189; Cape Edn. 217]

You know what Aquinas says: The three things requisite for beauty are, integrity, a wholeness, symmetry, and radiance. Some day I will expand that sentence into a treatise. Consider the performance of your own mind when confronted with any object, hypothetically beautiful. You mind to apprehend the object divides the entire universe into two parts, the object, and the void which is not the object. To apprehend it, you must lift it away from everything else: and then you perceive it as one integral thing, that is a thing. You recognise its integrity. … [ Cape 217]


That is the first quality of beauty: it is declared in a simple sudden synthesis of the faculty which apprehends. What then. Analysis then. The mind considered the object in whole and in part, in relation to itself and to other objects, examines the balance of its parts, contemplates the form of the object, traverses every cranny of [189] the structure. So the mind receives the impression of the symmetry of the object. The mind recognises that the object is in the strict sense of the word, a thing, a definitely constituted entity.


Now for the third quality. For a long time I couldn’t make out what Aquinas meant. He uses a figurative word (a very unusual thing for him) but I have solved it. Claritas is quidditas. After the analysis which discovers the second quality the mind makes the only logically possible synthesis and discovers the third quality. This is the moment which I call epiphany. First we recognise that the object is one integral thing, then we recognize that it is an organized composite structure, a thing in fact: finally, when the relation of the parts is exquisite, when the parts are adjusted to the special point, we recognize that it is that thing which it is. The soul of the commonest object seems to us radiant. The object achieves its epiphany. [190]

He felt Cranly’s hostility and he accused himself of having cheapened the eternal images of beauty. For the first time, too, he felt slightly awkward in his friend’s company and to restore a mood of flippant familiarity he glanced up at the clock of the Ballast House Office and smiled:
- It has not epiphanised yet, he said. [Jonathan Cape edn., 1969, p.218.]

Chap. XXVI [correctly Chap. XXV]:
[Maurice suggested that the verses should be sent to a publisher:]
- I cannot send them to a publisher, said Stephen, because I have burned them.
- Burned them!
- Yes, said Stephen curtly, they were romantic. [202]

At times Stephen would half clothe himself and cross to the shallow side of the Bull where he would wander up and down … he met no other Lucy [205]

… if he had made his proposal to Lucy instead of to Emma he might have met with better luck. [206]

[Stephen on NUI:] I found a day-school full of terrorized boys, banded together in a complicity of diffidence. They have eyes only for their future jobs … They adore Jesus and Mary and Joseph: they believe in the infallibility of the Pope and all his obscene, stinking hells: they desire the millenium, which is to be [a] the season for glorified believers and fried atheists … all that tomfoolery … [ 207]


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