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I: Epiphanies

Holograph Manuscript (1903–1904):1

Material Description and Collation

The manuscript consists of 22 loose sheets of blue ruled paper, except for p. [22], which is a heavier stock light grey ruled sheet that was torn from a notebook along what it is now its right edge. Joyce wrote only on the rectos, in various shades of black ink, with an additional, presumably unrelated text in lead pencil on p. [2r]. The versos are paginated, probably by Joyce or certainly at his instruction, but otherwise blank.


All the sheets measure 24.1 x 18.4 cm., except p. [22] that measures 20.3 x 18.4 cm.


The versos of all of the sheets are numbered in lead pencil, probably by Joyce (see Contents).


Joyce wrote one “epiphany”per page and, based on the numeration on the versos, at some stage there were at least 71 epiphanies,only 40 of which now survive (22 at Buffalo and 18 were copied by Stanislaus Joyce in his commonplace book [Cornell MS 17; see JJA 7.048–069]). These faircopy manuscripts are some Joyce’s earliest surviving compositions in his own hand (see also Buffalo MS IX.A.1).

Joyce called this collection of early prose works “Epiphany” (LII 28) and by 9 March 1903 wrote to Stanislaus from Paris: “I have written fifteen epiphanies–of which twelve are insertions and three additions” (LII 35). Joyce elaborated his definition of these “epiphanies” in Stephen Hero as “a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He [Stephen Dedalus] believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments” (Stephen Hero, edited by Theodor Spencer, [New York: New Directions, 1963], p. 211).

There are two kinds of epiphanies: 1) there are 16 dramatic sketches of moments of overheard conversations and scenes, Joyce presumably observed, that often specify the place and the time at which they occurred, as well as the speakers and stage directions; and 2) there also 6 dense lyrical prose poems. Although he chose not to publish them as such, Joyce incorporated several of these texts, virtually verbatim, in his later prose works (see the table of texts in Poems and Shorter Writings, edited by Richard Ellmann, A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson, [London: Faber and Faber, 1991], p. 273).

As his letters indicate, Joyce himself changed the order of the epiphanies as his conception of the collection evolved and the texts grew in number, but what is most likely the authorial numeration on the versos certainly indicates a consistent order at some stage. These manuscripts have been ordered differently since their initial publication in 1956. On the one hand, there is the earlier, Spielberg ordering (which follows the order in the La Hune catalogue and that of Oscar Silverman in his edition). On the other hand, there is the order settled on by Robert Scholes and Richard Kain in The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Raw Material for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1965), pp. 11–51, which includes the scribal copies at Cornell. This ordering has been followed by the JJA and then in PSW.Scholes and Kain describe their arrangement of the epiphanies according to Joyce’s numeration on the versos of the extant sheets as “an orderly pattern which represents a sort of compromise between their dates in Joyce’s life and their employment in his autobiographical fictions” (4–5). The manuscripts are now catalogued according to the latter ordering, but the following chart correlates the different orderings of the “epiphanies” based on Joyce’s numbering on the versos and in their publications:

MS I.A Number on Verso Epiphanies Poems and Shorter Writings
p. [1] “1” “6” “1”
p. [2] “5” “9” “4”
p. [3] “12” “19” “9”
p. [4] “13” “13” “10”
p. [5] “14” “1” “11”
p. [6] “16” “21” “12”
p. [7] “19” “2” “13”
p. [8] “21” “3” “14”
p. [9] “22” “20” “15”
p. [10] “26” “7” “16”
p. [11] “28” “11” “17”
p. [12] “30” “18” “18”
p. [13] “42” “17” “19”
p. [14] “44” “14” “21”
p. [15] “45” “4” “22”
p. [16] “52” “16” “32”
p. [17] “56” “15” “34”
p. [18] “57” “5” “35”
p. [19] “59” “10” “36”
p. [20] “65” “22” “37”
p. [21] “70” “8” “38”
p. [22] “71” “12” “39”


Joyce wrote “epiphanies” from 1901 to 1904 in Dublin and Paris, though he probably wrote out these faircopies in 1903–1904.

Other Markings

There are Xs in the upper left corner of pp. [1], [2], [3], [5]–[9], [13], [14], [15] and [21] in lead pencil.


The rectos and versos of this manuscript have been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile on JJA 7.001–044.The manuscripts were published first in Epiphanies, edited by Oscar A. Silverman, with introduction and notes (Buffalo, New York: University of Buffalo, 1956; and reprinted in 1979 [Snyder, New York: Richard West]). Since then, together with the scribal copies at Cornell, these manuscripts were published in The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Raw Material for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, edited by Robert Scholes and Richard M. Kain (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1965), pp. 11–51 and, more recently, in PSW, pp. 161–200.


There are perforations in the upper left margins of all sheets, where the sheets were most likely once fastened together, and some of the upper left corners of pp. [1], [4], [10], [17], [18], [19] are missing. There is light foxing and staining to all of the sheets and a black ink stain on p. [20] and water stains on p. [1]. Page [3] was folded in half horizontally.