By Yana BondarchukThu. 18 Apr. 20243min Read

Our Favourite Ulysses Quotes

Explore James Joyce's "Ulysses," a masterpiece of modernist literature.
Our Favourite Ulysses Quotes

If you are a devotee of modernist literature, you may well have ventured into the complex labyrinth of James Joyce's "Ulysses." Below, we explore some of our team's favorite quotes from this groundbreaking novel.

"Ulysses" is a novel by James Joyce, first published in its entirety in 1922. It is one of the most significant works of modernist literature and has remained a subject of study and admiration since its publication. Set in a single day, June 16, 1904, in Dublin, Ireland, the novel follows the journeys of its main characters, Leopold Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, and Molly Bloom. Joyce’s "Ulysses" challenges readers with its richly woven tapestry of characters and experiences, reflecting the complex interactions of the 20th-century urban setting.


"History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." – Stephen Dedalus


This quote speaks volumes about Stephen's existential angst and his struggle with the weight of history and memory. "Ulysses" delves deep into the psychological landscape of its characters, and Joyce's portrayal of Stephen captures a universal human desire to escape the burdens of the past.

"A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery." – Stephen Dedalus

Joyce’s exploration of error as a pathway to discovery reflects his own literary method, where he often ventured into uncharted stylistic territories. This perspective has always inspired me to appreciate the beauty in imperfection and the lessons it brings.

"Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home." – Stephen Dedalus

Joyce's ability to intertwine profound truths with the everyday thoughts of his characters makes "Ulysses" a masterpiece of modernist literature. This quote is a meditation on self-avoidance and ultimately finding oneself, themes deeply woven into the fabric of the novel.

"Love loves to love love." – Narrator

This playful tautology showcases Joyce’s unique style and his fascination with language’s elasticity. It reflects the circular, sometimes maddening, nature of love and desire, a central motif in the chaotic yet ordinary lives of Joyce’s characters.

"The heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit." – Narrator

Joyce's poetic language transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, capturing moments of beauty in everyday life. This quote has always drawn me for its visual and sensory richness, embodying Joyce's skill at evoking vivid imagery.

"I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another." – Molly Bloom

Molly's stream-of-consciousness soliloquy in the final chapter is one of literature's great monologues, revealing her innermost thoughts and memories in a cascade of consciousness that is both intimate and universal.

"Heavenly weather really if you could only get out of your body and leave it behind you on a park bench and just keep going." – Narrator

This whimsical thought captures a fleeting desire for escapism, reflecting the novel’s deeper exploration of identity and existence amidst the mundane details of daily life.

"All Moanday, Tearday, Wailsday, Thumpsday, Frightday, Shatterday." – Narrator

Joyce's playful manipulation of language to reflect the drudgery and emotional turbulence of life illustrates his innovative approach to capturing the human experience.

"I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space." – Stephen Dedalus

Here, Stephen’s thoughts on existence and time provide a glimpse into Joyce's exploration of temporal and spatial concepts, which challenge traditional narrative structures and reader expectations.

"The sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea." – Narrator

Joyce’s vivid and unusual descriptions invite readers to experience the world through a fresh lens, stirring both discomfort and awe. This line exemplifies his ability to evoke strong visceral reactions through words.

Download Ulysses PDF Free

Read “
Ulysses” on PDF

Download PDF Reader Pro to quickly and easily enable “Read Mode” for a pleasant reading experience on your desktop, tablet or phone.

Get Started with PDF Reader Pro Today!

If you liked this collection of quotes, you will also like our list of classic romance novels, available to read about, download and to import to PDF Reader Pro, right here on our blog. 

Get Started with PDF Reader Pro Today!