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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1930)

Material Description

The notebook is a black cloth covered, hard board accounting ledger book. The insides of the boards, front flyleaf recto and back flyleaf verso are gray paper, but the front flyleaf verso and the back flyleaf recto are lined paper. The notebook 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.33, VI.B.31, VI.B.36, VI.B.38, and VI.B.41/VI.C.18).

The notes are predominantly in Joyce’s hand but also in at least two scribal hands (Nora Joyce and Paul Léon), at Joyce’s dictation. The notes are all in soft lead pencil, although Joyce added a word in black ink on p. [080(d)]. Nora Joyce wrote the entries on the front flyleaf verso, pp. [211(f)] and [212(a)–(d)] and Paul Léon wrote the entries on pp. [126], [127(e)–(h)], and [144]. Joyce wrote [081(f)] upside down on the page; and he filled pp. [082] and [083] with entries twice, the second time upside down and over the notes he had already written on those pages. Léon filled pp. [126] and [127] upside down. The address on p. [129] in brown pencil may also have been written by Léon.

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


The manuscript consists of 116 leaves (232 pages) of blue horizontal and blue and red vertical lined white wove paper in 10 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 10th are composed of 20 pages, the 2nd through 9th gatherings of 24 pages); none of the pages are detached. 203 pages, the front cover verso as well as both sides of the front and back flyleaves, are inscribed; 29 are blank pp. [003], [009], [013], [017], [022], [024], [025], [030], [031], [049], [057], [061], [064], [065], [071], [077], [086], [087], [093], [103], [107], [109], [111], [205], [224], [226], [227], [228], and [232].


The manuscript measures 21.1 x 13.0 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from May to October 1930 in Zurich, Paris, England, Étretat, and Paris (FWNB: VI.B.32, p. 6).

Other Markings

A label was pasted on the front cover verso; it has a colored view of the William Tell Chapel and reads: "614 Tellskapelle | Chapelle de Tell" with the names Lindt & Sprüngli at the base. There is an arrow on p. [105] and a cross beside p. [175(d)], both in blue crayon, and another cross beside p. [177(e)],as well asan asterisk on p. [175(a)], all in red crayon.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 36.313–431, though pp. [122] and [123] were reproduced in reverse order. It was published in The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo: VI.B.32, edited by Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer and Geert Lernout (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2004).


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.32, front flyleaf verso–p. [130] MS VI.C.6, pp. [240]–back flyleaf verso;
continued on
MS VI.B.32, pp. [130]–back flyleaf recto MS VI.C.8, pp. [001]–[047]