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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1926)

Material Description

This portion of the manuscript in the Buffalo Collection consists of two loose gatherings, as well as a further sheet, all of which are detached from a pocket-sized notebook. The sheets were bound vertically and stapled three times along the spine, though only holes remain where they were pulled loose from the staples. Based on the transcription in MS VI.C.11, what is now catalogued as NLI MS 36,639/19 is the outermost sheet of the first extant gathering, preceding and following what are now pp. [069] and [104]. No other parts of the notebook are now known to be extant, including the covers, spine, and presumably several missing gatherings of sheets. Since an undetermined number of sheets are still missing from the notebook, it is unknown where what are now catalogued as pp. "[105]–[108]" were originally in the notebook.
Joyce’s notes are in lead pencil, except on p. [044], where some of the notes are in black ink.
He used green, blue, and red colored crayons to cross through notes he had used in his manuscripts.


The Buffalo manuscript consists of 54 leaves (108 pages) of blue ruled paper; what is now presumably the first extant gathering is composed of 38 leaves (68 pages), the other gathering is composed of 18 leaves (36 pages), and there is also a third sheet of 4 pages; all of the pages are detached from the binding, which is not known to be extant. All of the pages are inscribed and have red colored edges.


The manuscript measures 20.9 x 13.1 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook, including NLI MS 36,639/19 and presumably other now missing pages, from April through late May 1926 in Paris (TD 25).


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 33.002–056.


Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris in early 1935, transcribed some of the notes Joyce did not cross through in this notebook as follows:

Primary Notebook Scribal Notebook
MS VI.B.17, pp. [001]–[068] MS VI.C.5, pp. [170]–[221]
[Missing pages of notebook] MS VI.C.5, pp. [221]–[223]; see MS VI.C.11, pp. [059]–[061]

She then transcribed the notebook as well as the two leaves now at the National Library of Ireland again in Paris in 1936–early 1937 as follows:

Primary Notebook Scribal Notebook
MS VI.B.17, pp. [001]–[068] MS VI.C.11, pp. [001]–[058]
[Missing pages of notebook] MS VI.C.11, pp. [059]–[061];
see MS VI.C.5, pp. [221]–[223]
MS NLI MS 36,39/19, pp. [001] and [002] MS VI.C.11, pp. [061]–[063]
MS VI.B.17, pp. [069]–[104] MS VI.C.11, pp. [063]–[093]
NLI MS 36,39/19, pp. [003] and [004] MS VI.C.11, pp. [093]–[095]

On the other hand, the loose sheet (MS VI.B.17, pp. [105]–[108]) was never transcribed by Mme Raphael; it was folded in half horizontally.