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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1928)

Material Description

The manuscript is an oblong black cloth covered, hard board accounting ledger book, with blue paper on the insides of the boards and both flyleaves are also blue paper. Although different in size, 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.4, VI.B.24, 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 in the hands of more than one amanuensis (including on pp. [001]–[007] and [018]–[037], which are a Flemish-French vocabulary, and on [115], [116], [152], [153], and [178]), in possibly several kinds of lead pencil. Joyce wrote vertically on pp. [038]–[039], [105], and [180]–[181].

Joyce only used blue colored crayons to cross through notes he had used in his manuscripts.


The manuscript now consists of 91 leaves (182 pages) of purple horizontal and red and purple vertical lined white wove paper; the last leaf has been torn from the manuscript vertically (what were pp. [183]–[184]), though the margin is still attached at the spine. It is composed of 8 stapled gatherings (the 1st and 8th gatherings are composed of 20 pages and the 2nd through 7th gatherings of 24 pages). 138 pages, as well as the versos of both flyleaves, are inscribed; 44 are blank: pp. [015], [043], [073], [077], [083], [091], [104], [107], [111], [123], [125], [129], [131]–[137], [139], [142]–[151], [154]–[166], and [173].


The manuscript measures 24.9 x 9.3 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from July to September 1928 in Austria and in Paris (TD 29).

Other Markings

There is a stationer’s mark, probably the price in Francs, written in lead pencil upside down in the bottom left corner of the back flyleaf verso: "4.75".


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 35.027–105.


Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from MS VI.B.26, pp. [001]–[182], in Buffalo MS VI.C.10, pp. [059]–[168].