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James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  65 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
In Zurich in 1918 and 1919, the English painter Frank Budgen and the Irish writer James Joyce met almost daily to walk, talk, and drink wine; their talk, among other things, was of the complex novel Joyce was then writing. This captivating study is the record of these conversations, and of a continuing friendship, as well as an acute critical commentary on the work itself. ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 28th 1989 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1960)
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Jun 14, 2015 Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, lit-crit, joyce
Joyce was initially wary of Budgen because he thought he might be a spy sent by the British Consulate. In time he learned that Budgen was the rare sort of individual who could be his friend -- an ordinary man of intelligence. His account of Joyce during this period is a product of that friendship. Joyce was inclined to manipulate scholars, and the fact that Budgen was not one, and not even a writer, gave him license to be honest, which is what makes this book so valuable. (Several times more ...more
Josh Brown
Nov 20, 2013 Josh Brown rated it liked it
I found this book's title a bit of a misnomer. I can see its value as a primary source from which to write the history of Joyce's composition of Ulysses. In itself though, this is not a history - it is a romanticized portrait of that history. The biggest problem I had with this book is its liberal use of direct quotations (especially from Joyce) that we have no reason to believe are real.

Also, even accepting those conversations' verisimilitude, there is an issue with completeness: we get bits a
Henry Sturcke
Those who know more than I do about Ulysses and its author, James Joyce, say that this is best of the voluminous secondary literature. I started it immediately after finishing Ulysses, and found it enhanced my enjoyment of what I had read. Budgen was present at the creation, so to speak, in that he and Joyce met nearly daily while both lived in Zurich during World War 1 and while Joyce was immersed in his ten-year project. A rough outline of the contents and style of each of the sections of the ...more
May 26, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Joyce fans
Recommended to Anthony by: Frank Delaney
I am torn between three stars and four - the insight and the details that come out of the interactions between Budgen and Joyce by itself is very rewarding, and the analysis of Ulysses is very informative. However, Budgen gets repetitive, and he starts to depend too much on the quotes from Ulysses three-quarters through the book. The intent of the chapter on "Works in Progress" never seems to be successful, and definitely relies far too much on copying the text.
Still absolutely required reading
Oct 17, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
This is a great read and a real treasure. Budgen was an artist and a friend of Joyce. He did not enjoy a formal education, but wrote very well. Part of the book is a retelling of Ulysses, but sprinkled with personal ancedotes--some massaged--about his interactions with Joyce that illuminate the text.

He goes on to talk about "Work in Progress", which would become Finnegan's Wake. Included is a eulogy he wrote after Joyce's passing, and another brief biography.

Not only critical reading about Joyce
Dec 08, 2016 le_fino rated it really liked it
Besides Stuart Gilbert's book about Ulysses, this is the other excellent book that covers the origins of Ulysses and can be a handy companion as you follow Bloom across Dublin. Highly readable and insightful, I can recommend this to any fan or potential reader of my favorite book!
Feb 27, 2012 Tim rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
An odd little book; I seem to remember that Joyce deliberately misled Budgen, but I am not sure at all. What I do recall is that this is the book where Joyce tries to make the case that prose ought to be as memorable--as memorizable--as poetry, likening words to the brushstrokes of a great artist.
Mar 10, 2007 Cody rated it really liked it
A painter's (and friend of Joyce's) observations on the creation of *Ulysses.* Out of print, but very interesting...for anyone who loves Joyce.
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Dec 21, 2007
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Aug 13, 2008 Debra rated it it was amazing
Very engaging, and an excellent companion to Ulysses.
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