Joyce on sundry topics ...
Puritanism, hypocrisy , &c. (Letter of 13 Nov 1906): [...] if he put down a bucket into my own souls well, sexual department, I draw on Griffiths and Ibsens and Skeffingtons and Bernard Vaughans and St Aloysius and Shelleys and Renans water along with my own [adding] I am going to do that in my novel (inter alia) and plank the bucket down before the shades and substances above mentioned and see how they like it: if they dont like it I cant help them. I am nauseated by their lying drivel about pure men and pure women and spiritual love and love forever: blatant lying in the face of truth. I dont know much about the saince of the subject but I presume there are very few mortals in Europe who are not in danger of waking some morning and finding themselves syphilitic. The Irish consider England a sink: but if cleanliness be important in this matter, what is Ireland? Perhaps my view of life is too cynical, but it seems ot me that a lot of this talk about love is nonsense. A womans love is always maternal and egoistic. A man, on the contrary, side by side with his extraordinary cerebral sexualism and bodily fervour (from which  women are normally free) possesses a fund of genuine affection for the beloved or once beloved object. I am no friend of tyranny, as you know, but if many husbands are brutal the atmosphere in which they live (vide Counterparts) is brutal and few wives and homes can satisfy the desire for happiness. (Selected Letters, 1975, pp.129-30.)
Romantic Ireland: Like William Buckley, the Irish novelist, who writes in Sinn Féin, [George Gissing] makes nature very tiresome. A reviewer in Sinn Féin said that S[eamus] OK[elly]s story The Land of Loneliness was worthy of Tourgénieff. The stories I have read  were about beautiful, pure faithful, Connacht girls and lithe, broad-shouldered open-faced young Connacht men, and I read them without blinking, patiently trying to see whether the writer was trying to express something he had understood. I always conclude by saying to myself without anger something like this Well, theres no doubt they are very romantic young people: at first they come as a relief, then they tire. Maybe, begod, people like that are to be found by the Stream of Kilmeen only none of them has come under my observation, as the deceased gent in Norway remarked. (Letter to Stanislaus Joyce, 20 Nov. 1906; Richard Ellmann, ed., Letters of James Joyce, Viking 1966, Vol. 2, p.186; also Selected Letters, Faber 1975, pp.133-34.) ]
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Irish tradition? - 1: You are Irishmen and you must write in your own tradition. Borrowed styles are no good. You must write what is in your blood and not what is in your brain. On Arthur Power objecting that he wanted to write on model of French satirists and international writers: They were national first, and it was the intensity of their own nationalism which made them international in the end, as in the case of Turgenev. You remember his Sportmans Notebook, how local it was - and yet out of that germ he became a great international writer. For myself, I always write about Dublin because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal. (Quoted in Arthur Power, From an Old Waterford House, London n.d., p.63-64; also in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, 1965 Edn., p.520, citing interview with Arthur Power, Dec. 1953, and Power, James Joyce - the Irishman, in The Irish Times, 30 Dec. 1944; also quoted in Deirdre Bair, Samuel Beckett, 1978, p.130, and Bair, No-Mans-Land, Hellespont or Vacuum, Samuel Becketts Irishness, in Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies, 1982, p.105; also quoted in Mary Junker, Beckett: The Irish Dimension , Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1995 [q.p.], citing Bair.)
England & Ireland (1): Ireland is what she is and therefore I am what I am because of the relations that have existed between England and Ireland. Tell me why you think I ought wish to change the conditions that gave Ireland and me a shape and a destiny? (Joyce to Frank Budgen; quoted in Davies, op. cit., 1975, p.p.245-46.) According to Ellmann, Joyce had written to his brother from Rome that, compared to the English, all other people are puppets. ((James Joyce  1965 Edn., p.330, ftn.)
England & Ireland (2): To me an Irish safety pin is more important than an English epic. (Remark to Claud Sykes; quoted in Ellmann, James Joyce, 1965 Edn. p.436.)
England & Ireland (3): It is to be safe from the rabid and soul-destroying political atmosphere in Ireland that I live here[,] for in such an atmosphere it is very difficult to create good work, while in the atmosphere which Father Murphy creates it is impossible. At a very early stage I came to the conclusion that to stay in Ireland would be to rot, and I never had any intention of rotting, or at least if I had to, I intended to rot in my own way, and I think most people will agree that I have done that. (Joyce to Arthur Power; quoted in Stan Gébler Davies, James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist, Davis-Poynter 1975, p.245.)
English novelist: I have read Gissings Demos: A Story of English Socialism . Why are English novels so terribly boring? I think G. has little merit. The socialist in this is first a worker, and then inherits a fortune, jilts his first girl, marries a l[a]dy, becomes a big employer and takes to drink. You know the kind of story. There is a clergyman in it with searching  eyes and a deep voice who makes all the socialists wince under his firm gaze. I am going to read another book of his. Then I will try Arthur Morrison and Hardy: and finally Thackeray. Without boasting I think I have nothing to learn from the English novelists. / I have written to A[unt] J[osephine] asking her to send me By the Stream of Kilmeen [sic for Killmeen, 1906) a book of stories by Seamas OKelly - you remember him. I also asked her to try to lay hands on any old editions of Kickham, Griffin, Carleton, H. J. Smyth, &c., Banim and to send me an Xmas present made up of tram-trickets, advts, handbills, posters, papers, programmes &c. I would like to have a map of Dublin in my wall. [...] (Letter to Stanislaus Joyce, in 6 Nov. 1906; Selected Letters, ed. Richard Ellmann, 19975, p.124.)
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Jesus Christ: - Frank Budgen writes, He [Joyce] did not consider Christ a perfect man. / He was a bachelor, Joyce said, and he never lived with a woman. Surely living with a woman is one of the most difficult things a man has to do, and he never did it. (James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses , OUP 1972, p.191; see also Budgens remarks, infra).
Catholicism v. Protestantism (I) - Stephen Hero : 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. (Stephen Hero [1944, ed. Theodore Spencer]; new edn. with adds., London: Triad Books [Collins], 1977, p.103.) Further: 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. (p.183.)
Catholicism v. Protestantism (IV) - in 1907 Joyce wrote: In time, perhaps there will be a gradual reawakening of the Irish conscience, and perhaps four or five centuries after the Diet of Worms, we will see an Irish monk throw away his frock, run off with some nun, and proclaim in a loud voice the end of the coherent absurdity that was Catholicism and the beginning of the incoherent absurdity that is Protestantism. (Ireland, Island of Saints and Sages, in Critical Writings, NY: Viking Press 1967, p.169.)
Catholicism v. Protestantism (III): Frank Budgen writes: If the Protestant-Roman Catholic split in Christendom was mentioned he would usually observe that a coherent absurdity is preferable to an incoherent one. Quite rightly, philosophically, no doubt, but religions are also secular institutions, and from this angle their relative absurdity is less important than the question of the good or harm they do. He did not consider Christ a perfect man. / He was a bachelor, Joyce said, and he never lived with a woman. Surely living with a woman is one of the most difficult things a man has to do, and he never did it. (James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses , OUP 1972, p.191).
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Psychoanalysis: Why all this fuss and bother about the mystery of the unconscious? What about the mystery of the conscious? What do they know about that? (Joyce to Frank Budgen; quoted in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce,  1965 Edn., p.450; also quoted in Michael Begnal, Dreamscheme: Narrative and Voice in Finnegans Wake, Syracuse UP 1988, pp.2-3, citing Budgen, Further Recollections , p.8.) Cf., Finnegans Wake (1939): Get yourself psychoanolised! and artist answers, I can psoakoonaloose myself any time I want (p.522).
Harsh on Dublin: Sometimes thinking of Ireland it seems to me that I have been unnecessarily harsh. I have reproduced (in  Dubliners at least) none of the attractions of the city for I have never felt at my ease in any city since I left it except in Paris. I have not reproduced its ingenuous insularity and its hospitality. The latter virtue so far as I can see does not exist elsewhere in Europe. I have not been just to its beauty: for it is more beautiful naturally in my opinoni than what I have seen of England, Switzerland, France, Austria or Italy. Yet I know how useless these reflection are. For if I were to rewrite the book [...] I am sure I should find again what you call the Holy Ghost sitting in the ink-bottle and the perverse devil of my literary conscience sitting on the hump of my pen. (Letter to Stanislaus Joyce, 25 Sept. 1906; Letters, Vol. II, ed. Richard Ellmann, 1966, p.166; Selected Letters, ed. Richard Ellmann, 1975, pp.109-10.)
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Sinn Féin (1): In my opinion Griffiths speech at the meeting in the National Council justifies the existence of his paper [Sinn Féin]. He, probably, has to lease out his columns to scribblers like Gogarty and Colm, and virgin martyrs like his sub-editor. But, as far as my knowledge of Irish affairs goes, he was the first person in Ireland to revive the separatists idea on modern lines nine years ago. He wants the creation of an Irish consular sevice abroad, and of an Irish bank at home. What I dont understand is that while apparently he does the talking and the thinking two or three fatheads like [Edward] Martyn and [John] Sweetman dont begin either of the schemes.  He said in one of his articles that it cost a Danish merchant less to send butter to Christiania and then by sea to London than it costs an Irish merchant to send his from Mullingar to Dublin. A great deal of his programme perhaps is absurd but at least it tries to inaugurate some commercial life for Ireland and to tell you the truth once or twice [punct. sic] in Trieste I felt myself humiliated when I heard the little Galatti girl sneering at my impoverished country. [...] what I object to most of all in his paper is that it is educating the people of Ireland on the old pap of racial hatred whereas anyone can see that if the Irish question exists, it exists for the Irish proletariat chiefly. (Letter to Stanislaus Joyce, 25 Sept. 1906; Letters, Vol. 2, Viking 1966, pp.164-68, p.167; Selected Letters, ed. Richard Ellmann, Faber 1975, pp.110-11.)
Irish sexuality (public): [...] By the way, they are still at the venereal excess cry in Sinn Féin? Why does nobody compile statistics of venereal excess from Dublin hospitals. What is venereal excess? Perhaps Mr Skeffington Sheehy could write something on the subject, being, as J.J.B. [John Byrne] puts it a pure man. Infant Jesus, meek and mild, Pity me a little child. Make me humble as thou art, And with Thy love inflame my heart. Anyway my humble opinion is that if I put down a bucket into my own souls well, sexual department, I draw up Griffiths and Ibsens and Skeffingtons and Bernard Vaughans and St. Aloysius and Shelleys and Renans water along with my own. And I am going to do that in my novel (inter alia) and plank the bucket down before the shades and substances above mentioned to see how they like it: and if they dont like it I cant help them. I am nauseated by their lying drivel about pure men and pure women and spiritual love and love for ever: blatant lying in the face of the truth. I dont know much about the saince of the subject but I presume there are very few mortals in Europe who are not in danger of waking some morning and finding themselves syphilitic. The Irish consider England a sink: but, if cleanliness be important in this matter, what is Ireland? Perhaps my view of life is too cynical but it seems to me that a lot of this talk about love is nonsense. A womans love is always maternal and egoistic. A man, on the contrary, side by side with his extraordinary cerebral sexualism and bodily fervour (from which  women are normally free) possesses a fund of genuine affection for the beloved or once beloved object. I am no friend of tyranny, as you know, but if many husbands are brutal the atmosphere in which they live (vide Counterparts) is brutal and few wives and homes can satisfy the desire for happiness. In fact, it is useless to talk about this any further. I am going to lunch. (Letter to Stanislaus, 13 Nov. 1906; Selected Letters, ed. Richard Ellmann, Faber 1975 pp.129-30.)
Irish sexuality (private) - Letter to Nora (1909): I am your child as I told you and you must be severe with me, my little mother. Punish me as much as you like. I would be delighted to feel my flesh tingling under your hand[...] I wish you would smack me or flog me even. (In Richard Ellmann, ed., Selected Letters, London: Faber & Faber, 1975, p.188.)
Problem of my race: La problème de ma race est tellement compliqué quon a besoin de tous les moyens dun art elastique pour lesquisser - sans le resoudre. Je suis de lavis quune pronounciation personelle nest plus permise. Je suis contraint à la faire moyennant les scènes et les personnages de ma pauvre invention. [The problem of my race is so complicated that one needs all the resources of an elastic art in order to convey it without simplification. Therefore I feel constrained to attempting it by means of the scenes and characters of my poor invention.] (Letter to [prob.] Mme Guillermet, 5 Aug. 1918; in Letters, Vol. I, NY: Viking Press 1957, 1966, p.118.)
Irish = Medieval: One of the most interesting things about Ireland is that we are still fundamentally a medieval people. (Quoted in Arthur Power, Conversations with James Joyce, NY: Harper & Row 1974, p.92; and note further comments including remarks on aesthetics of the medieval church at Les Halles.)
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Ulysses fit to read? If Ulysses is not fit to read, life is not fit to live. (Joyce to Kathleen Murray, on hearing of her mothers estimate of the novel; interview with Kathleen Murray;quoted in Patricia Hutchins, James Joyces World, p.139; cited in Ellmann, James Joyce, 1959; 1965 Edn., p.551.)
Understanding FW: We must begin before it is too late. For the moment theres still one person in the world, myself, who can understand what I have written. I cant guarantee that in two or three years that I will be able to. (Quoted by Nino Frank, The Shadow that Had Lost its Man [memoir], in Willard Potts, Portraits of the Artist in Exile: Recollections of James Joyce by Europeans, Wolfhound Press 1979, p.96.)
John Stanislaus Joyce: My father had an extraordinary affection for me. He was the silliest man I ever knew and yet cruelly shrewd. he thought and talked of me up to his last breath. I was very fond of him always, being a sinner myself, and even liked his faults. hundreds of pages and scores of characters in my books came from him his dry (or rather wet) wit and his expression of face convulsed me often with laughter [...] I got from him his portraits, a waistcoat, a good tenor voice, and an extravagant licentious disposition. (out of which, however, the greater part of any talent I may have springs) but, apar from these, something else I cannot define. But if an observer thought of my father and myself and my son too physically, though we are all different, he could perhaps define it. It is a great consolation to me to have such a good son. His grandfather was very fond of him and kept his photograph beside mine on the mantelpiece. I knew he was old, but I thought he would live longer. It is not his death that crushed me so much as self-accusation. (JAJ, Letters, Vol. 1, p.312; cited in James Joyce, 1959, 1965 Edn., p.657 and elsewhere.)
May Joyce (1) - letter to her son: My dear Jim[,] if you are disappointed in my letter and if as usual I fail to understand what you would wish to explain, believe me it is not from any want of a longing desire to do so and speak the words you want but as you so often said I am stupid and cannot grasp the great thoughts which are yours much as I desire to do so. (Richard Ellmann, ed., Letters of James Joyce, Faber 1966, Vol. 2, p.6; quoted in Catherine J. Hemphill, UG Diss., UUC, 2003.)
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Jeu desprit (1): Ireland is a great country. It is called the Emerald Isle. The metropolitan government, after centuries of strangling it, has laid it waste. Its now an untilled field. / Proverbially and by nature our peasants walk in their sleep, closely resembling fakirs in their froglike and renunciatory sterility. I think they are the one people who, when they are hungry, eat symbolically. Do you not know what it means to eat symbolically? Ill clear it up for you in no time: the peasant family, a big roomful of them, sit round a rustic table as if it were an altar. In the middle of the table, suspended on a string from the ceiling, is a herring which could feed the lot of them. The headman arms himself with a potato. Then with it he makes the sign of the cross (my Tuscan friends say, He makes the big cross) high up on the back of the fish instead of just rubbing it as any hypocrite would do. This is the signal, and after him, hieratically, each member of the family performs the same trick so that at the end the members, that is to say the diners, find themselves left contemplating a potato in their hands, and the herring, if it doesnt get eaten by the eat, or rot, is destined to be mummified for posterity. This dish is called the indicated herring. The peasants are gluttons for it, and stuff their bellies full. / Dubliners, strictly speaking, are my fellow-countrymen, but I dont care to speak of our dear, dirty Dublin as they do. Dubliners are the most hopeless, useless, and inconsistent race of charlatans I have ever come across, on the island or the continent. This is why the English Parliament is full of the greatest windbags in the world. The Dubliner passes his time gabbing and making the rounds in bars or taverns or cathouses, without ever getting fed up with the double doses of whisky and Home Rule, and at night, when he can hold no more and is swollen up with poison like a toad, he staggers from the side-door and, guided by an instinctive desire for stability along the straight line of the houses, he goes slithering his backside against all the walls and corners. He goes arsing along as we say in English. Theres the Dubliner for you. / And in spite of everything, Ireland remains the brain of the United 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 civilised nations. This is then called English literature ... (Joyces teaching spiel, as reported by Francini-Bruni in Joyce Intimo spogliato in piazza [Joyce stripped naked in the piazza], Trieste 1922 [lect. & pamph.]; quoted in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce  1965, p.225-26; also in Willard Potts, Portraits of the Artist in Exile: Recollections of James Joyce by Europeans, Wolfhound Press 1979, pp.27-28 [a somewhat variant translation - viz.: Ireland is a great country. They call it the Emerald Isle. ...].
Keeping the professors busy ...: Joyce to reputedly told Jacques Benoîst-Méchin of Ulysses: Ive put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and thats the only way of ensuring ones immortality. (Interview with Jacques Benoîst-Méchin, in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, 1959 [1965 imp.], p.535; quoted [in part] in Vicki Mahaffey, Reauthorizing Joyce, Cambridge UP 1988, p.27, n.8, citing Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, 1982 [rev. edn.], p.521, and also in Jeri Johnson [as supra], in her Introduction to the Ulysses [World Classics], OUP 1993, p.x]; also quoted in Anne Fogarty & Fran O'Rourke, eds., Voices on Joyce, UCD Press 2105, Intro., p.3, citing Ellmann, James Joyce [rev. edn.], p.521.)