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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1929–1930)

Material Description

The manuscript is a black cloth covered, hard board accounting ledger book, with light gray marbled design paper pasted to the front cover verso and front flyleaf recto as well as on the back flyleaf verso and back cover recto. The covers are chipped and cracked and the paper block is partially detached from the spine. It is similar in kind to a common type of notebook Joyce used consistently but not exclusively from 1928 to 1938 (see also MSS VI.B.21, VI.B.26, VI.B.4, VI.B.29, VI.B.28, VI.B.32, VI.B.33, VI.B.31, VI.B.36, VI.B.38, and VI.B.41/VI.C.18).

The notes are in Joyce’s hand and those of several amanuenses (including on pp. [205], [226]–[237], [253]–[260], [273]–[285], and [290]–[300], and the back flyleaf recto) in possibly several kinds of pencils, including lead and grease, as well as in black ink (on pp. [037], [048], [144], [147], and [148]). Joyce’s notation on the front flyleaf recto is upside down.

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


The manuscript now consists of 147 leaves (294 pages) of light black horizontal and red and light black vertical lined white wove paper; 3 leaves have been torn from the manuscript vertically (pp. [181]–[182], [265]–[266], and [267]–[268]), though portions of these pages remain near the spine. The manuscript is composed of 12 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 12th gatherings are composed of 20 pages, the 2nd through 6th gatherings of 28 pages, and the 7th through 11th gatherings of 24 pages). 282 pages, as well as both sides of the front flyleaf and back flyleaf recto, are inscribed; 12 are blank: pp. [072], [073], [090], [091], [149], [152]–[157], [241], as well as the front cover verso, the back cover recto, and the remains of the 4 partially detached pages.


The manuscript measures 20.9 x 13.2 cm.


The pages are stamped "1"–"300" in black ink, in the upper left corner on even-numbered pages and in the upper right corner on odd-numbered pages.


Joyce compiled this notebook from August 1929 to early February 1930 in England and Paris (TD 30).

Other Markings

Joyce wrote "t 17/p 160" vertically in blue crayon on the front flyleaf verso.Mme Raphael marked the back flyleaf recto with an "R" in black ink, presumably after she had transcribed the notebook. The front cover verso is stamped with stationer’s mark in purple ink: "3913" (see also MSS B.21 and VI.B.41/C.18 that are similarly marked).


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 34.333–484.


  Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in MS VI.B.24, front flyleaf verso–back flyleaf recto, in MS VI.C.16, pp. [066]–[231].