Page 201. " pulcra sunt quae visa placent "

That is beautiful which pleases one's sight

Thomas Aquinas was a medieval Italian theologian and philosopher whose work had a profound effect on the Catholic Church.

Page 202. " Epictetus also had a lamp, said the dean "

 Epictetus was a Greek philosopher known for his writing on Stoicism. Born a slave, he lived in Rome before being exiled to Nicopolis in Greece. Although he didn't record his thought, his teachings were written down by his follower Arrian and published as the Discourses. Epictetus taught that philosophy was a way of life rather than an abstract preoccupation, and that suffering is caused by individuals trying to control what was beyond them. 

Page 206. " per aspera ad astra "

This Latin phrase, uttered by Seneca, translates as: through difficulties to the stars

Page 207. " the old professor was an atheist freemason. "

The term atheist originated from the Greek atheos, meaning "godless".

Freemasonry is a brotherhood that dates from the late sixteenth century. It uses as metaphor the language of stonemasons to construct an obscure and highly allegorical metaphysical and moral system which guides its members. Membership is secret, and members are encouraged to protect each others' interests.

Page 211. " Stephen pointed at the Tsar's photograph "
Photograph of Nicolas II
Public DomainPhotograph of Nicolas II

The term Tsar was given to the ruler of Imperial Russia. It comes from the Roman word Caesar (emperor), as does the Persian word shah. Tsar Nicolas II of Russia ruled from 1894 to 1917, when he was forced to abdicate during the First World War under the pressure of the February Revolution. Under him, Imperial Russia went from being a world power to a backward, oppressive state which incurred three revolutions, the last of which led to the creation of the Soviet Union.

Nicolas II is also known as the patron of the mystic Rasputin. After the Bolsheviks came to power, the Tsar and his family were imprisoned, and later executed. The Tsar is now considered to be a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Page 213. " Bend down your faces Oona and Aleel. "

Oona and Aleel are characters in Countess Cathleen, a play written by W.B. Yeats.

Page 213. " it is the business of the community to secure as cheaply as possible the greatest possible happiness of the greatest possible number. "

A reference to utilitarianism, a philosophy created by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

'The greatest possible happiness for the greatest possible number' is the central idea of this philosophy.

Page 213. " the first man in Europe who preached the freedom of thought was Collins. "

Anthony Collins (1676-1729), was an English philosopher, a proponent of deism, the belief that a rational supreme being created the universe, rather than in a particular religion, and a rejection of any supernatural beliefs.


Page 213. " Lottie Collins lost her drawers;/Won't you kindly lend her yours? "

Lottie Collins (no relation to Anthony) was an English music-hall star in the 1890s.

Page 214. " pax super totum sanguinarium globum "

A dog-Latin dialect that the boys use among themselves for fun:

Peace over the whole bloody earth

Page 215. " Pawn to king's fourth. "

A possible move in a game of chess.

Chess set
GNU Free Documentation LicenseChess set - Credit: Andre Riemann
Page 215. " nos ad manum ballum jocabimus "

Another dog-Latin expression: We play handball

Page 216. " The Bride of Lammermoor "

 The Bride of Lammermoor is a historical novel written by Sir Walter Scott. It is set in Scotland in the reign of Queen Anne (1702–1714). The novel tells of a tragic love affair between Lucy Ashton and her family's enemy, Edgar Ravenswood. Scott indicated the plot was based on an actual incident.



Page 217. " how many quarts of porter have you in you? "
GNU Free Documentation LicenseGuinness - Credit: Liftarn

Porter is a dark-coloured beer, also called stout, brewed with dark malts. 

 1 quart = 2 pints.

The expression "Mind your p's and q's.", meaning watch your behaviour, may have derived from bartenders recommending patrons "mind their pints and quarts".

Page 217. " do you believe that Jean Jacques Rousseau was a sincere man? "

 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was an Enlightenment philosopher and writer from Geneva. He influenced the French Revolution and the development of modern political and educational thought.


Page 219. " Are you Irish at all? "

A question much discussed in the columns of Arthur Griffith's United Irishman, in 1901. The purists argued that only Gaels were truly Irish. The more liberal view was that any "Irish born man" should be affirmed as Irish. Interestingly enough, the purists denied the distinction "Irish" to many outstanding Irish born men, including Grattan, Wolfe Tone, Parnell, Yeats, Synge and Joyce himself.

Page 220. " You talk to me about nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets. "

Stephen passes through childhood and adolescence and is now a formed personality. At this point he realizes that the defining trait of the artist must be freedom. As any man, the artist is born within a context. In order to write about beauty he must escape other temptations or other people's goals. His talent must be used for serving beauty only. The aesthetic ideal is far beyond other human endeavours. That is why Stephen Dedalus knows he must flee the prison, the maze of human constructs, and raise himself above all – in order to become an artist.

Page 220. " Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow. "

A farrow is a litter of pigs.

This is a cruel line coming from an Irish writer, but there is truth in it, in the case of any country that loses balance for nationalistic reasons. Such a country unwittingly sacrifices its people.

Page 221. " in a wood near Malahide "

Malahide is a coastal town near Dublin.

Google Map
Page 221. " its opening sound, rich and lutelike? "
GNU Free Documentation LicenseLute - Credit: Dardorosso

A lute is a stringed musical instrument similar to a guitar. It is often heard in music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Listen on Spotify: Prelude for Lute

Page 221. " summon back to itself the age of Dowland and Byrd "

 John Dowland (1563-1626) was a Renaissance English composer best known today for songs such as Come, heavy sleep, I saw my Lady weepe and In darkness let me dwell. His other music has undergone a revival in recent times, and can now be heard played by classical guitarists.

John Dowland's In darkness let me dwell on Spotify.

William Byrd (1539/40-1623) was another English Renaissance composer, with a more lasting fame than his contemporary. He is known for his use of polyphony, and was appointed to a prestigious position in Queen Elizabeth I's court.

William Byrd's My Mind to me a Kingdom Is on Spotify.


Page 222. " -The tragic emotion, in fact, is a face looking two ways, towards terror and towards pity "

Janus was the Roman god of doorways, beginnings and endings, who has lent his name to the month of January. He is most often depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions.

Page 223. " Cranly had taken another dried fig from the supply in his pocket "


Figs are one of the best plant sources of calcium and fiber, and can be eaten fresh or dried. They are associated with the Bible, as Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover themselves when they became ashamed to be naked.

Page 223. " The desire and loathing excited by improper esthetic means are really not esthetic emotions not only because they are kinetic in character, but also because they are not more than physical. "

Joyce sees improper art as any other stimulus in the base world. The person would react to this kind of art through a reflex action of their nervous system, rather than a superior, contemplative capacity of the spirit.

Page 224. " To speak of these things and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand - that is art. "

I like this quote most of all, as it expresses Joyce's idea that the senses are the prison gates of the soul. Art must use the senses as ways out, but we must understand that beauty resides beyond them.

Page 225. " Limbo! Temple cried. "

Limbo is a form of afterlife for those who die in original sin, mainly infants who have not yet been baptised but are too young to have committed any sins of their own. It is separate to Hell, hence Temple's distinction, and is not an official doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is not a punishment, other than that the soul committed there is barred from Heaven.

Page 225. " Plato, I believe, said that beauty is the splendour of truth. "

Plato  (c.428/427-348/347 BC), was a Greek philosopher, who founded the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. His Aesthetics deals with the question of Beauty.