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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1926)

Material Description

Although it shares some features with at least two other kinds of "Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake notebooks, this manuscript is unique in the Joyce archive. It is an accounting ledger that is bound in turquoise colored hard paper board covers, with a black cloth-tape spine, and the covers and the pages have rounded outside edges. The front cover verso, back cover recto and both flyleaves are plain white paper.
The notebook’s physical state deteriorated as Joyce used it: although still held intact by the stitching and cover, the notebook is badly worn and some leaves have continued to become detached and loose over time. There is insufficient evidence to conclusively rearrange the pages as they were originally, but some of the leaves and pages were evidently in a different order when Spielberg cataloged the notebook in 1962 (and when it was reproduced in the JJA) as opposed to when Mme Raphael transcribed it in early 1936. The FWNB: VI.B.12 edition has established a more accurate (though still not conclusive) pagination that is based on the notebook’s transcription in MSS VI.C.7 and VI.C.6, as well as on both bibliographical and textual evidence; this new ordering of the notebook pages has been followed here. The following table correlates the various paginations:

MS VI.C. Pagination MS VI.B.12 Pagination JJA Pagination JJA
VI.C.7, p. [270]–VI.C.6, p. [010] Front cover verso–p. [022] Front cover verso–p. [022] 31.226–237
VI.C.6, pp. [010]–[011] pp. [023]–[024] pp. [047]–[048] 31.249–250
VI.C.6, pp. [011]–[013] pp. [025]–[026] pp. [045]–[046] 31.248–249
VI.C.6, pp. [013]–[028] pp. [027]–[048] pp. [023]–[044] 31.237–248
VI.C.6, pp. [028]–[140] p. [049]–back cover recto pp. [049]–back cover recto 31.250–322

There is one further modification of the pagination: p. [099] (Spielberg’s leaf 50; p. 100 in the JJA) is the verso of a leaf; the leaf was back to front in the notebook when transcribed by Mme Raphael and when it was reproduced in the JJA: the pages have now been correctly ordered.

Joyce’s notes are in lead pencil, with some entries in black ink on pp. [003], [015], [027 (p. 023 in JJA)], [034 (p. 030 in JJA)], [130], [140], [142], [145], [153], [190], and the back cover recto, and there are some of the notes in red colored crayon on pp. [099] (p. 100 in JJA) and [172]. Some of the notes on pp. [112] and [113] are in the hand of Takaoki Katta in lead pencil.

Joyce used red, blue, and green colored crayons to cross through notes he had used in his manuscripts.


The manuscript now consists of 96 leaves (192 pages) of blue horizontal and blue and red vertical ruled paper in 8 stitched gatherings, of which the intact gatherings are composed are as follows: the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th gatherings are composed of 20 pages, the 3rd gathering of 26 pages, and the 7th of 24 pages; pp. [191]–[192] are detached from any gathering, but are still attached to the back flyleaf, which is itself still attached to the notebook. Based on current state of the notebook, it is highly probable that at least 2 pages are missing (but possibly 4), which were not transcribed by Mme Raphael. Of the extant pages, 188 pages, as well as the front cover verso, back cover recto, and all the flyleaves are inscribed; 4 are blank: pp. [010], [011], [168], and [169].

11 leaves (22 pages) are now detached, though much of this damage most likely happened as Joyce continued to use the notebook before it was transcribed in 1936. The detached pages are the front flyleaf verso–p. [002], pp. [023]–[026], [047], [048], [095]–[100], [121]–[124], and [145]–[146].

Joyce filled the notes on pp. [104] and [105] upside down and wrote some of the notes vertically throughout the notebook.


The MS measures approximately 21.4 x 13.7 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from June to August 1926 in Paris (FWNB: VI.B.12, p. 14).

Other Markings

On the front cover verso, Joyce wrote "" in red crayon and, below this, he wrote "t14" and circled it, all in blue crayon. On the back flyleaf verso, Joyce wrote "t12" also in blue crayon. There are illegible ink markings on the front flyleaf recto and pp. [073], [092], and [190]. There are stray ink markings on pp. [126], [134], [135], and [148]. Joyce rewrote a portion of an entry on p. [162] in red crayon.

A stationer’s label is affixed to the verso of the front cover that reads: "SPÉCIALITÉ DE STYLOS | VENTE ET RÉPARATION | DE TOUTES MARQUES | LIBRARIE . PAPETRIE | 175, RUE DE GRENELLE | PARIS, VIIe" (MS VI.B.9. has an identical stationer’s label). Joyce’s Paris address when he compiled both VI.B.9 and VI.B.12was 2, Square Robiac, just off rue de Grenelle.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 31.226–322 (see Material Description for further information about the JJA‘s pagination of the notebook) and it will be published in The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo: VI.B.12, edited by Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer and Geert Lernout (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, forthcoming).


Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in early 1935 in Paris, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from MS VI.B.12, pp. VI.B.12, front cover verso–p. [006] in Buffalo MS VI.C.7, pp. [270]–[276] and VI.B.12, p. [006]–back cover recto to VI.C.6, pp. [001]–[140] (see Material Description for further information about the various paginations).