Skip to Content


Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1923)

Material Description

The manuscript is a stenographer’s tablet. It is an example of a type of notebook Joyce used from December 1922 through March 1924, all of which have horizontal spines: VI.B.10, VI.B.25, VI.B.2, VI.B.11, VI.B.6, and VI.B.1. Furthermore, MSS VI.B.3 and VI.B.1 are similar in type and identical in size, except that this notebook is made of better quality paper.

The notebook now has no covers but the sheets (and the covers) were stapled twice in the center, folded in half horizontally, and trimmed to form the tablet. Joyce’s notes are in at least two types of pencil: a hard pencil and another kind with distinctly softer lead. He used the softer lead pencil to write later notes interlineally after having already filled the notebook through p. [164].

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


The manuscript now consists of 86 leaves (172 pages) of unlined, refined pulp paper. At least 4 pages are missing. At least 2 pages from the front of notebook are missing since the traces of words on what is now designated as p. [001] indicate that an inscribed verso page was facing it for some time; furthermore, that leaf was half of a sheet and so at least 2 more pages are missing from the back of the notebook. It is almost certain that more than these 4 pages are now missing from this notebook. These pages have not been counted in the pagination.
The notation "Z’ch" (see below) on what is now p. [001] most likely indicates that it was the first page of the notebook in 1932. Of the extant pages, 163 are inscribed; 9 are blank: pp. [162]–[163], [165]–[167], and [169]–[172]. Pages [001]–[010] and [169]–[172] are now detached from the tablet; pp. [165]–[166] and [169]–[172] are torn and only fragments survive; and some of the leaves are tattered around the edges.


The manuscript measures 21.0 x 13.3 cm. (as trimmed).


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from March to July 1923 in Paris, London, and Bognor (FWNB: VI.B.3, p. 4).

Other Markings

The notes on pp. [157]–[161] and [164] are upside down. There are inkblots on pp. [001] and [156] and traces of the lead from the notes and of the color crayon from crossed through markings appear on many facing pages.
On p. [001] Joyce wrote "Z’ch" in red crayon. At different times,on p. [168] Joyce also wrote "d" and the following all upside down: "t12" in blue crayon, "t13" in green crayon,and "Shem Cain " and "c/b" in lead pencil.Joyce also wrote a note in blue crayon on p. [087(b)].


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 29.180–262 and was published in The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo: VI.B.3, edited by Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer and Geert Lernout (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2001).


Mme FranceRaphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris, did not transcribe this notebook. She also did not transcribe Buffalo MSS VI.B.21, VI.B.25, VI.B.30, VI.B.36, and VI.B.39VI.B.48.