Take a Walk with James Joyce Along the Beach

James Joyce
James Joyce

Today in Wednesday’s book quote, we revisit A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. If you remember in our previous encounter A morning inspiration we examined Joyce’s exceptional discourse about the spirit and unfettered freedom the instant upon his waking in the morning just prior to awakening wholly. Today we delve into what I consider to be his ‘artistic-soul’ transitioning from boyhood to adulthood.

Portrait - Beach 1
Portrait - Beach 2

What makes this section most remarkable is he contextualizes it with simply wandering on a beach. I’ve walked on beaches before and had my encounters with waves, birds and even girls which have made me swoon, but this walk where Joyce finds himself he translates all those aforementioned images into mythological wonders which transfigure his youthful artistic-soul into the honed-in dedicated adult artist. Not only that, he has written the most illuminating description about the power and beauty of the feminine upon man:

Portrait - Beach 3.jpg
Portrait - Beach 4
Portrait - Beach 6.jpg

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Reading
27 comments on “Take a Walk with James Joyce Along the Beach
  1. hanspostcard says:

    Reading some James Joyce has been on my list – right now I am finally reading “War and Peace”- maybe I will slip Ulysses on to the top of my things to read soon..

    • I haven’t read both of those books. They say ‘Portrait’ is almost prerequisite reading for Ulysses. How are you enjoying ‘War and Peace’?

      • hanspostcard says:

        I have heard that before- so maybe I will read “Portrait” first!. I am 400 pages into War and Peace- and really enjoying it.

      • Nothing like being in the middle of a really great book. I hope to one day read both of these two giants as well…It won’t be in the short term that I can assure you as I have ‘Don Quixote’ up next.

      • hanspostcard says:

        Let me know how “Don Quixote” is- have never read it. More of a non-fiction type here but it’s always good to read a classic now and then.

      • I wasn’t planning on reading Don Quixote but the kid at the bookstore said it was the greatest Spanish book ever. I lost count of the superlatives he used. I hope he’s in the ballpark because it’s one heck of a big book.

      • hanspostcard says:

        A few months ago in watching a doc on Orson- it was obvious he was a big fan of the book and i thought of reading it but haven’t.

      • Ah that’s right, Don Quixote was the unfinished film project of Orson’s. Well may be I’m onto a good thing.

      • hanspostcard says:

        Hope you like it! I had it in my hands at a bookstore a few months ago….

      • It was literally put in my hands by the bookstore guy and I bought it so he could stop harassing me lol
        Oh by the way Hans I just finished writing a post about ‘Alone’ by Heart which was in my music library. I think it’s a pretty good post and I mentioned our take on the song. It’s a humorous tongue in cheek spoof post. I hope you like it..It’s coming out in a couple of weeks. Cheers buddy

      • hanspostcard says:

        Will look forward to reading it! A couple of weeks into the future. I am lucky to be 5 minutes ahead of myself!

      • Well you seem to produce many more posts than me. I only do six per week. But I love the scheduling option on wordpress.

      • hanspostcard says:

        I can’t figure out how to do the scheduling.

      • Where it says ‘publish’ there’s a right bottom arrow and a calendar should open up which allows you to schedule when your posts are published. If that doesn’t work just Google ‘how to schedule posts in WordPress’.

      • hanspostcard says:

        Thanks- looked easy enough- now will see if I did it correctly!

      • It’s great. Scheduling got me into the habit of planning ahead and I don’t need to be at my computer for my post to be published.

      • hanspostcard says:

        Thanks- it worked!

  2. A very descriptive sensual piece of writing! Reminds me of why I like James Joyce so much. Really enjoyed reading it. Thank you!

    • Very sensual indeed! I don’t know how he did it, but I suppose that’s what sets writers like him apart. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it Sharon. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on it.

  3. With the huge variety on your blog, you are fast proving yourself to be a Renaissance Man!

    Did you know that James Joyce’s oldest sister Gertrude (who in reality brought him up) became a nun and lived in Christchurch NZ! James wrote to her every week and just prior to her death Gertrude order the hundreds of his letters to be burnt – which they were… Those who wonder how come James Joyce (in one of his books) got the words of the NZ All Blacks haka word perfect now know why!

    • You’re being too kind Bruce. Real Renaissance Men know fascinating stories like the one you just told me. I hardly know anything about him. Does anyone know why she ordered the letters to be burnt? That’s a real shame. At least she lent him the words to the All Black haka.

  4. badfinger20 says:

    I like the way Joyce phrases things… like “He halted suddenly and heard…”. Simple but so effective.

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