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Earlier Version of Scenes and Fragmentary Texts for the “Cyclops” (12) Episode (1919)1

Material Description and Collation

The manuscript is a copybook in Joyce’s hand in black ink, with pencil additions and/or revisions on all the inscribed pages, except pp. [5v]–[7r], [11r], [11v], [12r], [14v] and [17v]. The text on the front cover verso and on pp. [1v], [8v], [19v] and [20v]–[24r] is all in pencil and that on pp. [3v], [18v], [20r] and [21v] is in pencil but revised in pencil and black ink.2 The manuscript consists of 24 leaves (48 pages) of graph paper, of which 38 pages are inscribed and 10 are blank: pp. [2v], [6v], [7v], [9v], [10v], [12v], [13v], [15v], [16v] and [24v].

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. The manuscript is similar to Buffalo MS V.A.5: it has a heavier stock blue paper cover and an identical white oval paper label with scalloped edges is also pasted on the front cover recto, though here the initials “J. J.” in a circle are stamped in black ink on the right hand side of the label.


Each leaf measures 21.6 x 17.5 cm.


Joyce foliated the leaves toward the bottom of the left margin of the recto pages in pencil “1)”–”15)” and “17)”–”25)”; that is, he mis-numbered the pages, omitting page number 16.3


The manuscript is the first part of the earliest extant proto-draft of the “Cyclops” episode and contains 8 distinct scenes, which Joyce numbered in blue crayon in the left margins. See Herring, Buffalo for a complete annotated transcription of this manuscript.

Joyce compiled a partial chronology of Bloom’s life from 1866 to 1904 on the front cover verso in pencil.4

Scene “1)” starts on p. [1r] and is continued and concluded on p. [2r]. Joyce wrote an inaccurate version of Paul Verlaine’s poem “La Lune Blanche” (see La bonne chanson , poem VI) in the center of p. [1v] in pencil, which he marked off from what were probably intended as additional texts for the first scene.

Scene “2)” begins toward the top of p. [2r], is continued on pp. [3r] and [4r], with additional text on p. [3v] in pencil for p. [4r]. The scene continues directly on p. [5r] to p. [10r], with further additional text on p. [8v] again in pencil for p. [9r] and Joyce wrote another, longer additional text in black ink also for p. [4r] on p. [5v] that he continued on p. [4v]. Pages [2v], [6v], [7v] and [9v] are blank.

Scene “3)” begins toward the center of p. [10r] and is continued directly on p. [11r] to p. [13r], with an insertion on p. [11v] in black ink for p. [12r]. Pages [10v] and [12v] are blank.

Scene “4)” begins toward the bottom of p. [13r] and is continued directly on p. [14r] to p. [19r], with a relatively long insertion on p. [14v] for p. [15r] and another on p. [17v] for p. [18r], both in black ink. Pages [13v], [15v] and [16v] are blank.

Scene “5)” begins at the top of p. [20r] and is continued on p. [21r]. Joyce then wrote 3 additional fragmentary texts to continue this scene on the following pages in this order: p. [20v], tagged “5) | a)”, p. [19v], tagged “5) | b)” and then p. [18v] tagged “5) | c)”, all tagged in blue crayon. At some later stage, probably after most of the manuscript had been filled, Joyce also wrote “v. p. 25” (that is, p. [23v]) in the left margin of p. [20v] and wrote a further text for “5) | a)” in the lower half of the page there. Notably, all of the text on pp. [18v] and [19v] through [24r] is in pencil.

Scene “6)” begins toward the center of p. [21r] and is continued on p. [22r]. Joyce then wrote an additional text for this scene on p. [21v] that he tagged “6) | a)” and also wrote an addition for p. [21v] at the bottom of p. [22r].

Scene “7)” begins at the top of p. [23r] and Joyce also wrote an additional text for this scene on p. [22v] that he tagged “7) | a)”.

Scene “8)” begins at the top of p. [24r] and ends mid-sentence there (even though p. [24v] is blank) but is continued directly on NLI MS 36,639/10, p. [1r], where the additional text is also tagged as scene “8)” in blue crayon. Joyce wrote a relatively long addition for p. [24r] at the top of p. [23v]. The text on MS 36,639/10, p. [1r] is also in pencil.

Finally, Joyce wrote two further additional texts on NLI MS 36,639/10 for scenes in Buffalo MS V.A.8. The first is in pencil at the top of MS 36,639/10, p. [1v] and is correspondingly tagged “7) | b” to follow the fragmentary scene on MS V.A.8, p. [22v]. The other additional scene is also in pencil on MS 36,639/10, p. [3v] and Joyce tagged it “6) | b)” to follow the scene on MS V.A.8, p. [22r], where he had noted “(v. p. 28)”; that is, NLI MS 36,639/10, p. [3v].

MS V.A.6 is a later partial draft of the episode (see MS V.A.6, Contents, for further information).

Other Markings

Joyce drew short horizontal lines in blue crayon separating scenes 1 through 6 on pp. [2r], [10r], [13r], [19r] and [21r]. Joyce crossed through the texts with diagonal lines or X s in red crayon on all the inscribed pages, except pp. [1v], [8v], [17v] and [18r], probably as he transcribed the texts to later drafts (including MS V.A.6). Similarly, Joyce also crossed through some of the additional texts with diagonal lines or X s in blue crayon on pp. [1v], [2r], [9r] and he crossed through all the text on p. [20r] with both red and blue crayon X s over one another. The only pages that have no crayon markings are pp. [8v], [17v] and [18r].

The staples left rust stains in the centerfold between pp. [12v] and [13r]. During conservation, therefore after the manuscript’s publication in the JJA , the recto of each leaf was marked “V. A. 8. p 1″–”V. A. 8. p 24” in the lower right corner in pencil. The cover was not marked.


Joyce wrote the fragmentary scenes in this manuscript in June 1919 in Zurich.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile on JJA 13.083–132. It has been transcribed and annotated in Phillip F. Herring (ed.), Joyce’s Notes and Early Drafts for “Ulysses”: Selections from the Buffalo Collection , (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1977), pp. 131–146 and 152–177. See also Michael Groden, “Cyclops in Progress, 1919,” JJQ 12.1/2, (Fall 1974/Winter 1975), pp. 123–168, “Ulysses” in Progress , (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), especially pp. 115–165 and “Joyce at Work on ‘Cyclops’: Toward a Biography of Ulysses ,” JJQ 44.2 (Winter 2007), pp. 217–245. Also see, Myron Schwartzman, “The V.A.8 Copybook: An Early Draft of the ‘Cyclops’ Chapter of Ulysses with Notes on its Development,” JJQ 12.1/2, (Fall 1974/Winter 1975), pp. 64–122, in which the text of MS V.A.8 is also transcribed and annotated.

  1. Beach, Catalogue, p. 3, item 3; Slocum and Cahoon , item E.5.c.
  2. In general, Joyce wrote scenes 1 through 4 in black ink, possibly copying them from earlier versions, and wrote scenes 5 through 8 in pencil, which may indicate that they are earlier draft states of the those scenes.
  3. Presumably unintentionally, Joyce similarly mis-numbered the pages of NLI MS 36,639/10.
  4. In the summer of 1921 Joyce compiled another partial listing of events in Bloom’s life on the later Ulysses notebook NLI MS 36,639/05/B, p. [10v].