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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1931)

Material Description

The notebook is a black cloth covered, hard board accounting ledger book. The insides of the covers and both sides of the flyleaves are plain white paper. The spine is cracked and worn but intact. The text block has come away from the spine, and the stitching is cracked in places, but both are intact. Joyce’s notes are in lead pencil, except for some of the notes on pp. [021], [068], [104], [114], [195], [209], [233], and on the back flyleaf verso that are in black ink, as well as some on p. [234] that are in red crayon. Joyce also wrote some notes vertically. Some of the notes on p. [225] in black ink and the back flyleaf recto in lead pencil are not in Joyce’s hand.

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.28, VI.B.32, VI.B.33, VI.B.36, VI.B.38, and VI.B.41/VI.C.18).

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


The manuscript consists of 136 leaves (272 pages) of blue horizontal and blue and purple vertical lined white wove paper in 12 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 12th gatherings are composed of 18 pages, the 4th of 20 pages, and the other gatherings of 24 pages); none of the pages are detached. 267 pages, as well as the front cover verso, back cover recto, and all sides of the flyleaves, are inscribed; 5 are blank: pp. [168], [169], [235], [239], and [251].


The manuscript measures 20.9 x 13.3 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from late April to November 1931 in England and Paris (TD 31).

Other Markings

Joyce wrote an asterisk in red crayon on p. [034]. There is a stationer’s label pasted upside down to the back cover verso that reads: " AUX | TROIS QUARTIERS | 7.25".


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 36.173–311 and will be published in The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo: VI.B.31, edited by Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer and Geert Lernout (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, forthcoming).


Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris in early 1935, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from MS VI.B.31, from the front flyleaf recto to the back flyleaf recto, in Buffalo MS VI.C.9, pp. [125]–[235].