A Mosaic Piece from "Sirens"

Joyce always carried note pads and stray bits of paper in his jacket. According to the painter Frank Budgen, a friend of Joyce’s, “alone or in conversation, seated or walking, one of these tablets was produced, and a word or two scribbled on it at lightning speed.” This aspect of Joyce’s composition process led Budgen and writer Valery Larbaud to compare Joyce to a Renaissance mosaic artist, patiently fabricating large figures of the saints out of tiny pieces of colored stones.

James Joyce (1882–1941)
Manuscript fragment from the “Sirens” episode, Zurich, [1918 or 1919]
The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Sean and Mary Kelly, 2018; MA 9770
© The Estate of James Joyce.