Skip to Content


Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1922–1923)

Material Description

The manuscript is a stenographer’s tablet. It is the earliest example in the Buffalo collection of the type of notebook Joyce used from December 1922 through March 1924, all of which have horizontal spines: MSS VI.B.3, VI.B.25, VI.B.2, VI.B.11, VI.B.6, and VI.B.1.

The cover and the sheets were stapled twice in the center, folded in half horizontally, and trimmed to form the tablet. The manuscript has gray covers (paper in front and board in back), its spine is reinforced with black tape, which is now worn; both covers are detached from the notebook, but the spine still holds the covers together. "BLOC | DE | 200 PAGES | POUR LA | Sténographie" is printed in black on the recto of the front cover.

Joyce’s notes are in lead pencil, with two additions in black ink on pp. [033(a)] and [060(g)].

Joyce used blue, red, green, brown, and black colored crayons to cross through entries he used in his manuscripts.


The manuscript now consists of 60 leaves (120 pages) of unlined, coated pulp paper. Since the cover indicates that as manufactured the notebook contained a total of 200 pages, 40 leaves are missing. An undetermined number of sheets are missing from the center of the notebook: traces of blue and red crayon cross through markings can be seen on what is now p. [063] that do not correspond to the extant facing page, and the staples are noticeably pried apart, suggesting that a block of sheets was pulled from the center of the notebook. Although the majority of leaves are probably missing from the center, extant fragments indicate that at least 1 leaf was torn from the notebook and is missing between what are now pp. [096] and [097]. Furthermore, a gap in the extant Ulysses errata (BL MS 57356, fs. 7–8v, covers errata for Ulysses [Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922], pp. 3–258, and p. [001] here picks up the errata list with Ulysses, p. 282) suggests that at least one leaf is missing from the front of the notebook. Traces of color cross through markings (that do not correspond to its extant facing page) also appear on the verso of the back cover, indicating that at least one other leaf is probably also missing from the back of the notebook. Therefore, the pages have been paginated here in the order in which they survive.

Of the extant pages, 118 pages are inscribed; only 2 are blank: pp. [026] and [027]. Some of the leaves are tattered around the edges and pp. [001]–[032], [061]–[064], and [093]–[120] are now detached from the tablet, of which pp. [061]–[064] are an intact sheet (4 pages).


The manuscript measures 21.0 x 12.8 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled the notebook from December 1922 to February 1923 in Nice and Paris (FWNB: VI.B.10, pp. 4 and 5). This is the first "Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake notebook.

Other Markings

Traces of the color crayon markings appear on many facing pages. On the verso of the back cover Joyce’s wrote " | Shem | Cain | | b" (upside down) in lead pencil.Illegible words and/or letters are written (right-side up) also in lead pencil at the top of the verso of the back cover.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 31.079–139 and was published in The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo: VI.B.10, edited by Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer and Geert Lernout (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2001).


MS VI.B.10, pp. [001] and [002] were reproduced in reverse order on JJA 31.080 and 081. Mme France Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from this notebook to Buffalo MS VI.C.5, pp. [092]–[169].