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II.A.:”A Portrait of the Artist” Essay, Sketch and Notes (1904)

The manuscript is a copybook in Joyce’s hand. It now consists of 11 leaves (22 pages), with alternating red and blue horizontal rules; 4 leaves were torn from the notebook and are missing. Joyce wrote on 21 pages in black ink, with a note in lead pencil on p. [19]; only 1 page is blank (p. [17]).

The copybook is a partial Vere Foster’s national school edition exercise book (No. 5; Dublin: Blackie & Son, Limited, 89 Talbot Street) that had belonged to Joyce’s sister Mabel; she had written her full name twice on the front cover recto. It has an ornamental design on the front cover recto, with the number “5” in circles in the upper left and right corners and drawings in circles in the lower corners, and a “Table of Weights and Measures” on the back cover verso.

It is oblong and designed to be used horizontally, but Joyce used the manuscript vertically, writing his text across the horizontal rules, with odd-numbered pages starting at the spine and even-numbered pages ending there, except for p. [19] that Joyce used the other way around.

In 1965, therefore after Spielberg’s cataloguing but prior to its reproduction in the JJA, the manuscript underwent protective treatment, though the details of this process still need to be fully ascertained. The manuscript was disbound and the sheets were separated into individual leaves that were then backed with conservation paper and further encased in an opaque material. The encasing sheets are slightly larger than the manuscript leaves (the latter are about 21.0 cm. wide, while the encasements are 22.8 cm.).2 The edges of all the sheets were worn and chipped before conservation and some words have been lost. The conservators did not attempt to restore the manuscript, but the encasing material ensures that the paper is unlikely to deteriorate further. The encased sheets were sewn four times through the margins with white thread through the encapsulation into a new binding of green paper covers.

The manuscript is now housed in a green case, with cloth over boards, with red-brown felt on the interior. The covers of the case are blank, but the spine has a leather label attached that reads in gold gilt: “A | PORTRAIT | OF THE | ARTIST | – | JOYCE”, with a gold gilt decorative horizontal border at the top and bottom of the label.

This manuscript was conserved in a manner similar to the Ulysses Later Second-Order Notebook for Drafts, Typescripts and Proofs notebook (MS V.A.2.b [V.A.2.])and the Exiles notebook (MS III.A)after 1962 but prior to the Ulysses manuscripts (MSS V.A.3–22) and the “Work in Progress” galley proofs (MSS VI.G).


Joyce wrote “A Portrait of the Artist” along the left margin of p. [1].


The manuscript measures 22.9 x 16.9 cm.; the conservator’s encasement sheets are 23.5 x 17.5 cm. and the case is 25.5 x 19.0 cm.


The sheets are not numbered.


The manuscript contains a faircopy version of Joyce’s early essay on pp. [1]–[15], with only some corrections and revisions. Joyce returned to pp. [16] and [18]–[22] of the copybook after he had begun to recast this essay as Stephen Hero and wrote a sketch of the plot, a list characters and compiled other notes for chapters VIII–XI and XV–XXV of Stephen Hero. Joyce also harvested words and phrases verbatim from pp. [1]–[15] for Stephen Hero, crossing out the text in black ink and in blue crayon.


Joyce dated the essay 7 January 1904 on p. [15], below his signature.

Other Markings

Joyce signed the essay “Jas. A. Joyce | 7/1/1904.” on p. [15]. He wrote the following on the back cover recto in black ink: “Note | The foregoing pages are the first draft on an | essay of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man | and a sketch of the plot and characters, written | (January 1904) in a copybook of my sister Mabel | (b. 1896, d. 1911). The essay was written for a | Dublin review Dana but refused insertion by | the editors Mr W K Magee (John Eglinton) | and Mr Frederick Ryan. | 20 . 1 . 1928 | James Joyce | Paris”. Below this, there is another note in Beach’s hand in black ink on a small white piece of paper pasted on the back cover that reads: “gift from James Joyce | to Sylvia Beach | 20 – 1 – 1928”. (Joyce similarly signed Buffalo MS VII.A.2.a.i in the left margin of p. [1]).

There are red crayon markings on the front cover recto, lead pencil markings on pp. [8] and [9] and blue crayon markings on pp. [9] and [14]–[17], some of these crayon markings may be accidental. Prior to encapsulation the conservators paginated the sheets “1”–”22″ in lead pencil; the rectos in the upper left margin, and the versos in the upper right margin.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile on JJA 7.070–094.The manuscript was first published as “A Portrait of the Artist,” edited by Richard M. Kain and Robert Scholes, The Yale Review, XLIX (Pittsfield, Massachusetts: Yale University Press, Spring 1960), pp. [360]–369; then 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. 60–74 and, more recently, the essay on pp. [1]–[15] was published in PSW, pp. 211–218.


Stanislaus Joyce first made a scribal copy of the manuscript, probably shortly after it had been written (Cornell MS 35; see JJA 7.095–97) and before Joyce started deleting material from it. Then, in late 1927 or early 1928, Stanislaus Joyce had a typescript prepared before he returned the manuscript from Trieste to Joyce in Paris (Cornell MS 34; see JJA 7.098–105). There is an accompanying note in black ink with the manuscript that reads: “taken to Chicago 4. 30. 65 | by Mr. Sy | for protective treatment” and then in pencil: “II. A”.

  1. See [Sylvia Beach], Catalogue of a collection containing manuscripts & rare editions of James Joyce, a few manuscripts of Walt Whitman and two drawings by William Blake, belonging to Miss Sylvia Beach and offered for sale at her shop, Shakespeare and Company, 12, rue de l’Odéan, 12 Paris-VIe (Paris: Shakespeare & Company [1935]), item 10, p. 6; Slocum & Cahoon, item E.3.a.
  2. This is not evident in the JJA reproductions and the conservator’s covers were not reproduced.