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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1928)

Material Description

The manuscript is a diary or album that Joyce bought in Le Havre. It has blue-and-gold designed paper pasted to the front cover verso and front flyleaf recto as well as on the back flyleaf verso and back cover recto, which is similar to the decorative paper on MS VI.B.27. The notebook is covered in maroon colored imitation leather; the cover is detached from the binding and from the notebook. It is generically similar in kind to MS VI.B.27 that Joyce used after this notebook from May to July 1929 and to MS VI.B.45 that he used from January to February 1938.

Joyce’s notes are in lead pencil. He filled p. [117] vertically. Some of the notes on pp. [014], [015], [121], [140]–[143], and [145]–[151] in lead pencil are not in Joyce’s hand.

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


The manuscript consists of 78 leaves (156 pages) of heavy, unlined paper; all of the leaves have gilt edges. The manuscript is composed of 8 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 8th gatherings are composed of 18 pages and the 2nd through 7th gatherings of 20 pages); none of the leaves are missing.

All of the pages as well as the front flyleaf verso and back flyleaf recto are inscribed; none of the pages are blank. Joyce wrote the notes in the lower half of p. [095] upside down in the notebook.


The manuscript measures 17.8 x 12.5 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from September to December 1928 in Le Havre and Paris (TD 29).

Other Markings

There is a gold-colored stamped stationer’s label pasted to the front flyleaf verso that reads: "M’on Rieul | 110 rue de Paris | Le Havre".


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 34.253–331.


The amanuensis’s transcription of the text known as "Twilight of Madness Descends on Swift" (see Buffalo MS XI.A.10) on pp. [014] and [015] is in an unidentified hand in lead pencil.

Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from MS VI.B.23, front flyleaf verso–back flyleaf recto in Buffalo MS VI.C.10, pp. [169]–[248].