Page 254. " a curious phrase from Cornelius a Lapide which said that the lice born of human sweat were not created by God "

Lice are parasites which feed on the skin cells or blood of a host's body.

Creative Commons AttributionLouse - Credit: Calliopejen

Cornelius a Lapide (1567-1637) was a Flemish Jesuit who wrote commentaries on the Bible. 

Page 262. " a small investor, a drinker, a good fellow, a story-teller "

Story-telling is an Irish tradition which dates back thousands of years. A seanchaí (Irish, meaning 'old lore') is a traditional Irish storyteller. In ancient Celtic culture, the history and laws of the people were not written down but were memorized in long lyric poems which were recited by bards.



Page 263. " Pascal, if I remember rightly "
 Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. His most famous religious work is his Pensées:

For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.

Page 264. " what he called the jews of his time, a whited sepulchre? "

Jesus called the Jews whited sepulchres, meaning hypocrites. A sepulchre is a type of tomb; whited implies that it is painted, made beautiful, therefore disguising its association with death. A whited sepulchre is therefore something that appears beautiful on the outside, but is deceptive, as it has no inner beauty.


Page 265. " I fear more than that the chemical action which would be set up in my soul by a false homage to a symbol behind which are massed twenty centuries of authority and veneration. "

In other words, Stephen's disbelief in God is not complete. It could not be, after he has been through so many years of religious upbringing. He cannot deny the authority gathered over a vast amount of time by Christianity. He has lost faith, but not to the point of no return.

Page 265. " They had walked on towards the township of Pembroke "

Pembroke Township was an area just outside of Dublin. The township took its name from the fact that most of the area was part of the estate of the Earl of Pembroke. It is now a suburb of the city.

Page 265. " She sang, in short broken bars: Rosie O'Grady. "

Page 266. " shining clear as the voice intoned the proparoxytone "

A linguistic term for a word with stress on the second-last syllable. The word can also be applied to a line of medieval Latin poetry where the second-last syllable is stressed.

Page 268. " Apply to the Jesuit theologian Juan Mariana de Talavera "

 Juan Mariana de Talavera (1536-1624) was a Spanish Jesuit priest and historian, whose work, which included a thirty-volume history of Spain, brought him into conflict with the rulers of Spain. For more information, see also here.

Page 268. " the chastisement of the secular arm "

This is the verbal formula with which the Inquisition turned convicted heretics over to the state for execution. In many cases the Inquisition imposed lighter sentences (pilgrimages, the wearing of a yellow cross, imprisonment) which it could enforce under its own authority, but the death penalty could only be enforced by the state.

Page 268. " silence, exile and cunning "

A possible source for Stephen's words can be found in the book Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes by Honore de Balzac, in which the main character, Lucien de Rubempre, says: "I have put into practice an axiom which assures me a life of tranquility: Fuge, late, tace" (Flight, subterfuge, silence).

Page 270. " Elizabeth and Zacchary "

The parents of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. In Luke's Gospel the parents are described as "well stricken in years" and Elizabeth is described as "barren".

Page 271. " Began in Italian and ended in pidgin English "

A pidgin language is a simplified language that develops as a hybrid of two or more other languages as a simplified means of communication between groups of people who do not share a language.

Page 271. " He said Bruno was a terrible heretic. I said he was terribly burned. "
 Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was an Italian Dominican friar who proposed the infinity of the universe. His cosmology went beyond even that of Copernicus, and caused him to be condemned as a heretic by the Catholic Church and burned at the stake.
Page 271. " Blake wrote: I wonder if William Bond "

William Blake (1757-1827)was an English Romantic poet and illustrator. William Bond can be read here.

Page 271. " for what he calls risotto alla Bergamesca "

A rice dish in the style of Bergamo, an Italian town 30 miles east of Milan.  Not a famous recipe.

Risotto with peas
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRisotto with peas - Credit: Dithie
Page 273. " Told him that the shortest way to Tara was via Holyhead "

The Hill of Tara, near the River Boyne, is an archaeological complex that contains a number of ancient monuments, and, according to tradition, was the seat of the High King of Ireland.


Page 275. " opened the spiritual-heroic refrigerating apparatus, invented and patented in all countries by Dante Alighieri "

 Dante Alighieri is the well-known Italian Renaissance writer, the author of the Divine Comedy. His mention only here, towards the end of the book, should not prevent us from realising that he is an important influence on A Portrait... and on Joyce. Dante served Joyce as a model of the artist who, wishing to speak openly about his own time, must be always at war with its society. Those who seek their lives may lose them, and the artist seeking to preserve his identity risks its loss. Joyce's image of Dante hints at the dangers as well as the virtues of exile, especially a self-imposed one.