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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1938)

Material Description

The manuscript is a pocket-sized notebook, covered in brown colored board and bound with a black cloth spine, which is chipped at the edges. The front cover verso, back cover recto, and both flyleaves are plain white paper. The edges of the pages are speckled red. Joyce filled the pages of the notebook from both ends and the notes are in Joyce’s hand in the following inks and pencils:

Writing Implement Manuscript Pages
Green ink: Front flyleaf recto–p. [004], pp. [018], [043], [046]–[075], [080]–[096],
[190]–[192], and the back flyleaf verso
Lead pencil: pp. [005]–[045]
Red ink: pp. [076] and [077]
Blue ink: pp. [078] and [079]

Though this is the smallest notebook of its kind, it is generically similar to MSS VI.B.19, VI.B.13, VI.B.20, VI.B.18, VI.B.22, VI.B.35, VI.B.34, VI.B.37, VI.B.44, VI.B.42, and VI.B.47 that Joyce used periodically from June 1925 to the end of 1938.

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


The manuscript consists of 96 leaves (192 pages) of blue lined graph paper in 8 stitched gatherings composed of 24 pages each. 103 pages, as well as both sides of the front flyleaf and the verso of the back flyleaf, are inscribed; 89 are blank: pp. [097] and [102]–[189]. Joyce’s notes are upside down on the front flyleaf recto–p. [004], [070], [071] [190], [191], [192], and the back flyleaf verso. Some of the notes on pp. [062], [072], and [073] are in an unidentified hand, possibly Paul Léon’s.


The manuscript measures 14.6 x 9.2 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from late November to late December 1938 in Paris (TD 35).

Other Markings

There is a stationer’s mark in lead pencil in the upper right corner of the front flyleaf recto, which is probably the price in Francs, that reads: "2 90".


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 36.117–171.


  Mme FranceRaphael, Joyce’s amanuensis, did not transcribe this notebook.