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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1930–1931)

Material Description

The notebook is a black cloth covered, hard board accounting ledger book, predominantly in Joyce’s hand in lead pencil, although there are notes in three scribal hands on pp. [001]–[009] and [166], [167], and [168], also in lead pencil. The insides of the boards and front and back flyleaves are light grey (that are similar to MSS VI.B.21 and B.24) and the verso of the front flyleaf and recto of the back flyleaf are plain white paper. The fore-edges are speckled red. 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.24, VI.B.29, VI.B.32, VI.B.33, VI.B.31, VI.B.36, VI.B.38, and VI.B.41/VI.C.18).

All of the pages are inscribed as well as the back flyleaf recto and back cover recto; none are blank. Joyce filled pp. [076] and [077] upside down and wrote the notes on these pages in reverse order.

Joyce only used black crayon on p. [001] and pencil on pp. [002]–[009] to cross through the few notes he used directly from this notebook in his drafts.


The manuscript consists of 100 leaves (200 pages) of light black horizontal and light black and red vertical lined white wove paper in 8 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 8th gatherings are composed of 20 pages, the 2nd through 5th gatherings of 28 pages, and the 6th and 7th of 24 pages); none of the pages are detached. The first and last leaves of the first and last gatherings are unlined plain paper.


The manuscript measures 18.9 x 12.3 cm.


The pages are stamped "1"–"200" in black ink, in the upper right corner on odd-numbered pages and in the upper left corner on even-numbered pages.


Joyce compiled this notebook in Paris over two distinct periods from late March to early April 1930 and then from January to February 1931 (TD 30–31).

Other Markings

The front cover verso is stamped with stationer’s mark in purple ink: "3 9 0 2" (MS VI.B.38 is similarly marked).


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 35.187–288 and will be published in The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo: VI.B.28, edited by Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer and Geert Lernout (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, forthcoming).


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

Primary Notebook Scribal Notebook
MS VI.B.28, pp. [004(c)]–[093(a)] MS VI.C.9, pp. [236]–back flyleaf verso; continued on
MS VI.B.28, p. [093(b)]–back flyleaf recto MS VI.C.10, pp. [001]–[058]