A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Posted: August 2, 2010 in Book Notes
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  • What did it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lost his soul?
  • Sin, remember, is a twofold enormity. It is a base consent to the promptings of our corrupt nature to the lower instincts, to that which is gross and beastlike; and it is also a turning away from the counsel of our higher nature, from all that is pure and holy, from the Hold God Himself.
  • The soul tends towards God as towards the center of her existence…We come from God, we live by God, we belong to God: we are His, inalienably His. God loves with a divine love every human soul and every human soul lives in that love…And if it be pain for a mother to be parted from her child, for a man to be exile from hearth and home, for friend to be sundered from friend, O think what pain, what anguish, it must be for the poor soul to be spurned from the presence of the supremely good and loving Creator who has called that soul into existence from nothingness and sustained it in life and loved it with an immeasurable love.
  • Why was he kneeling there like a child saying his evening prayers? To be alone with his soul, to examine his conscience, to meet his sins face to face, to recall their times and manners and circumstances, to weep over them.
  • It would be beautiful to die if God so willed. It was beautiful to live if God so willed, to live in grace a life of peace and virtue and forbearance with others.
  • The world for all its solid substance and complexity no longer existed for his soul save as a theorem of divine power and love and universality. So entire and unquestionable was this sense of the divine meaning in all nature granted to his soul that he could scarcely understand why it was in any way necessary that he should continue to live.
  • The first step in the direction of truth is to understand the frame and scope of the intellect itself, to comprehend the act itself of intellection…The first step in the direction of beauty is to understand the frame and scope of the imatination, to comprehend the act itself of esthetic apprehension.

Three things are needs for beauty, wholeness, harmony and radiance.

– Aquinas

  • I will not serve that which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using my defence the only arms I allow myself to use – silence, exile, and cunning.
  • The past is consumed in the present and the present is living only because it brings forth the future.
  • Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
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