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IV.B.1: Occasional Verses

“Who is Sylvia, what is she” (1922):1

Material Description and Collation

The manuscript is a loose sheet of tan unruled rolled paper in Joyce’s hand in black ink; the verso is blank. It is tipped into Sylvia Beach’s copy No. 2 of the first edition of Ulysses (Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922; Slocum and Cahoon A17), along with a grey envelope addressed in Joyce’s hand in ink on which Joyce wrote: “Miss Sylvia Beach | Shksp”.


The manuscript measures 18.0 x 12.9 cm.


The manuscript is a parody of William Shakespeare’s “Who is Sylvia, what is she…, (from The Two Gentlemen from Verona)” honoring Sylvia Beach as the publisher of Ulysses.


Joyce wrote this manuscript in February 1922 in Paris.

Other Markings

Joyce wrote: “J.J. | after | W.S.” below the text in black ink.


This manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile on JJA 1.322. The poem was published in Sylvia Beach, Shakespeare and Company (New York: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1959), p. 85 and then in PSW, p. 127.


The manuscript was folded vertically four times and once horizontally. Sylvia Beach made a copy of the poem; it is in the Firestone Library, Princeton University (see JJA 1.323).

  1. Slocum and Cahoon, E.17.b.iii.; see See [Sylvia Beach], Catalogue, item 1a, p. 3.