Spirit of man

At the beginning of Ithaca the conversation between Stephen and Bloom appears to be going much better than it did in most of Eumaeus, but at least one of Stephen's ideas clearly strikes Bloom as, in the words of Eumaeus, "a bit out of his sublunary depth." He declines to voice an opinion on what his young companion calls "the eternal affirmation of the spirit of man in literature," a phrase which strongly recalls ideas that the young Joyce had advocated in a lecture inspired by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The lecture praised art which affirms human life but tells the truth about it, no matter how unflattering.

John Hunt 2018

Henrik Ibsen, in a colored drawing or block print by an unknown artist. Source: www.sciencesource.com.