Quotes from The Dead

James Joyce ·  64 pages

Rating: (12.8K votes)


“Why is it that words like these seem dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“His soul swooned softly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“Under cover of her silence he pressed her arm closely to his side; and, as they stood at the hotel door, he felt that they had escaped from their lives and duties, escaped from home and friends and run away together with wild and radiant hearts to a new adventure.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead



“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, quote from The Dead


“For the years, he felt, had not quenched his soul, or hers.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painter he would paint her in that attitude. Her blue felt hat would show off the bronze of her hair against the darkness and the dark panels of her skirt would show off the light ones. Distant Music he would call the picture if he were a painter.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“In one letter that he had written to her then he had said: Why is it that words like these seem to me so dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead



“He longed to be master of her strange mood.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“A new generation is growing up in our midst, a generation actuated by new ideas and new principles. It is serious and enthusiastic for these new ideas and its enthusiasm, even when it is misdirected, is, I believe, in the main sincere. But we are living in a sceptical and, if I may use the phrase, a thought-tormented age: and sometimes I fear that this new generation, educated or hypereducated as it is, will lack those qualities of humanity, of hospitality, of kindly humour which belonged to an older day.”
― James Joyce, quote from 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. He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover’s eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“—I think he died for me, she answered.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“He had felt proud and happy then, happy that she was his, proud of her grace and wifely carriage. But now, after the kindling again of so many memories, the first touch of her body, musical and strange and perfumed, sent through him a keen pang of lust…he felt that they had escaped from their lives and duties, escaped from home and friends and run away together with wild and radiant hearts to a new adventure.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead



“I feel more strongly with every recurring year that our country has no tradition which does it so much honour and which it should guard so jealously as that of its hospitality. It is a tradition that is unique as far as my experience goes (and I have visited not a few places abroad) among the modern nations. Some would say, perhaps, that with us it is rather a failing than anything to be boasted of. But granted even that, it is, to my mind, a princely failing, and one that I trust will long be cultivated among us. Of one thing, at least, I am sure. As long as this one roof shelters the good ladies aforesaid- and I wish from my heart it may do so for many and many a long year to come- the tradition of genuine warm-hearted courteous Irish hospitality, which our forefathers have handed down to us and which we must hand down to our descendants, is still alive among us.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“Generous tears filled Gabriel’s eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself which these dead had one time reared and lived in was dissolving and dwindling.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“He could have flung his arms about her hips and held her still, for his arms were trembling with desire to seize her and only the stress of his nails against the palms of his hands held the wild impulse of his body in check.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“He had felt proud and happy then, happy that she was his, proud of her grace and wifely carriage.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“Like the tender fire of stars moments of their life together, that no one knew of or would ever know of, broke upon and illumined his memory. He longed to recall to her those moments, to make her forget the years of their dull existence together and remember only their moments of ecstasy.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead



“—A new generation is growing up in our midst, a generation actuated by new ideas and new principles. It is serious and enthusiastic for these new ideas and its enthusiasm, even when it is misdirected, is, I believe, in the main sincere. But we are living in a sceptical 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 humour which belonged to an older day.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“I think Christmas is never really Christmas unless we have the snow on the ground.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living...therefore, I will not linger on the past. I will not let any gloomy moralising intrude...”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“She seemed to him so frail that he longed to defend her against something and then to be alone with her. Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead



“—O, to tell you the truth, retorted Gabriel suddenly, I’m sick of my own country, sick of it!”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“—He is dead, she said at length. He died when he was only seventeen. Isn’t it a terrible thing to die so young as that?”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


“Un picchiettare sommesso sui vetri lo fece voltare verso la finestra: aveva ricominciato a nevicare. Osservò assonnato i fiocchi neri e argentei che cadevano obliqui contro il lampione. Era giunto il momento di mettersi in viaggio verso occidente. Sì, i giornali dicevano il vero: c'era neve dappertutto in Irlanda. Cadeva ovunque nella buia pianura centrale, sulle nude colline; cadeva soffice sulla palude di Allen e più a ovest sulle nere, tumultuose onde dello Shannon. Cadeva in ogni canto del cimitero deserto, lassù sulla collina dove era sepolto Michael Furey. S'ammucchiava alta sulle croci contorte, sulle pietre tombali, sulle punte del cancello, sugli spogli roveti. E la sua anima gli svanì adagio adagio nel sonno mentre udiva lieve cadere la neve sull'universo, e cadere lieve come la discesa della loro estrema fine sui vivi e sui morti.”
― James Joyce, quote from The Dead


About the author

James Joyce
Born place: in Rathgar, Dublin, Ireland
Born date February 2, 1882
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