Frank Budgen (1882–1971) was an English painter acquainted with the author James Joyce. Born in Surrey, Budgen spent six years at sea before working in London as a postal worker. He changed jobs a number of times before travelling to Paris in 1910 to study painting, moving to Switzerland in time for World War I. Here he was employed by the British government at the Ministry of Information, an institution established in Zürich for "the spread of British propaganda in neutral countries." He returned to London in 1920, where he remained until his death.
Joyce and Budgen spent much of the war in the same city and similar social circles. According to Budgen's 1934 memoir James Joyce and the making of Ulysses, Joyce discussed aesthetic matters with Budgen a number of times, often referring to the content of Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. The last of these three, Budgen stated, Joyce referred to at the time as Work in Progress; indeed a number of the conversations he reports as having had with Joyce imply that the author was working out the form and content of this work in part by arguing with Budgen.
The joycean scholar Clive Hart wrote about him: «One of Budgen's many fine qualities was a gift for making new friendships with people of all ages. Although he used occasionally to grumble about the unfortunate effects of technological progress on the quality of life in London and elsewhere, he never failed, even in his last years, to welcome new life, new experience. In his thirties, when he and Joyce were closest, Budgen must have been a most stimulating companion. Even in his eighties he was an excellent man at a party, enjoying the company of people of all kinds, being lionized by many of the men and by virtually all of the women, talking with zest, listening (as few people do) with equal zest. It was when he was in the company of a number of his friends that one saw most clearly the vigorous, intelligent, endlessly curious man whom Joyce had known.
Budgen was of medium height, solidly built, with quite remarkably powerful shoulders and one of the soundest physiques I have ever seen. He was very much at home in the physical world, being visually and tactilely sensitive, as plastic artists must be, to all that was going on around him, and always keen to be physically in touch».
- Digital copy of James Joyce and the making of 'Ulysses', and other writings
- Hart, Clive. "Introduction". James Joyce and the Making of "Ulysses". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2012/01/08.
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