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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1929)

Material Description

The manuscript is a diary or album, with 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.23. It is covered in dark green colored imitation leather; the front cover recto is decorated with four stamped black-and-gold ornaments in the corners that are identical to those on MS VI.B.45; the spine is cracked and the covers are detached from the notebook. It is generically similar in kind to MS VI.B.23 that Joyce had used from September to December 1928 and to MS VI.B.45 that he used from January to February 1938.

Joyce’s notes are in heavy lead pencil. He filled p. [122] vertically. He used blue, red, and black 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). The stitching has come apart: the front flyleaf with the first 4 gatherings (pp. [001]–[078]) have become detached from the spine and from one another, but the leaves within each gathering are still held together by the stitching.

154 pages, as well as the verso of the front flyleaf and the recto of the back flyleaf, are inscribed; only 2 are blank (pp. [056] and [057]). Joyce wrote the notes on pp. [038] and [039] upside down.


The manuscript measures 17.4 x 12.1 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from May to July 1929 in Paris and in England (TD 30).

Other Markings

Joyce marked the front flyleaf recto "Feldkirch" vertically in red crayon (see also MS VI.B.33 that is similarly marked), presumably when he returned to the notebook in 1932. Mme Raphael marked the back flyleaf recto with an "R" in black ink, presumably after she had transcribed the notebook.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 35.107–185.


Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from MS VI.B.27, front flyleaf verso–back flyleaf recto in Buffalo MS VI.C.17, pp. [064]–[150].