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Notebook of “Shakespeare Dates” (probably 1916–1918)

Material Description and Collation

The manuscript is a notebook in Joyce’s hand in black ink. It consists of 12 leaves (24 pages) of black ruled paper. All the pages and the front cover verso are inscribed.

As manufactured, the copybook was held together with 3 metal staples in the center vertical fold; they were removed for conservation purposes and the manuscript was disbound. It has a heavier stock blue paper cover and a white paper label with scalloped edges is pasted on the front cover recto. The cover and each sheet were cleaned, de-acidified and individually encapsulated in February 1988.


Joyce wrote ” Shakespeare | Dates” on the label on the front cover recto in black ink.


Each leaf measures 21.9 x 17.4 cm.


The manuscript is a compilation of notes on relevant dates in Shakespeare’s life and career, presumably for use in the “Scylla and Charybdis” episode. Each of the 24 pages has been headed chronologically with a year in Shakespeare’s life (from 1593 through 1616) and underlined with red crayon. Notes pertaining to each year are listed below these dates (although there are none for 1612). The notes for 1564 are listed on the front cover verso but the date here is not underlined.


It not known when Joyce compiled this notebook, but presumably Joyce prepared it between 1916 and 1918.

Other Markings

Unlike all of Joyce’s other notebooks, none of the entries here are crossed through with colored crayons. During conservation, therefore after the manuscript’s publication in the JJA , the recto of each leaf was marked “V. A. 4.” in the bottom right corner in pencil. The back cover verso was also marked “V. A. 4.” in the bottom right corner in pencil.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile on JJA 12.323–348 and Richard M. Kain transcribed it in “James Joyce’s Shakespeare Chronology,” Massachusetts Review , (vol. 5, no. 2, 1964), pp. 342–355.