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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1931)

Material Description

The manuscript is a black cloth covered, hard board accounting ledger book. The notes are in Joyce’s hand in lead pencil, except for an entry on p. [183(h)] and two additions on pp. [017(e)] and pp. [185(b)] that are in black ink. Joyce filled pp. [098] and [099] upside down and wrote on p. [099] before p. [098]. 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.31, VI.B.36, VI.B.38, and VI.B.41/VI.C.18).

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


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 are composed of 20 pages, the 6th and 7th are composed of 24 pages, and 2nd through 5th gatherings are composed of 28 pages); none of the pages are detached. 198 pages, the front cover verso, front flyleaf recto, back cover recto, and both sides of the back flyleaf, are inscribed; only 2 are blank: pp. [136] and [137].


The manuscript measures 20.7 x 13.2 cm.


Pages [001]–[035] are stamped "1"–"35" and pp. [037]–[200] are stamped pp. "37–200" in black ink, in the upper right corner on odd-numbered pages and in the upper left corner on even-numbered pages. On p. [034], the page number "36" was stamped first, then a "4" was stamped over the "6"; p. [036] is not paginated.


Joyce compiled this notebook from mid to late February to mid to late April 1931 in Paris (FWNB: VI.B.33, p. 4).

Other Markings

Joyce wrote "Zurich | Feldkirch" vertically on the front board verso (see also MS VI.B.27 that is similarly marked) and wrote "studies" (FW II.2) on the front flyleaf recto, all in orange crayon, probably after July–September 1932, when he used some material from this notebook. There is also a stationer’s mark, "3 9 1 2" stamped in purple ink on the front board verso and the stationer wrote "7.90" in pencil (presumably the price in Francs) in the upper right corner of the front flyleaf recto. There are lead smudges on many facing pages and ink stains on p. [108].


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 37.002–104, though pp. [036] and [034] were inverted; see JJA 37.020 and 021.


Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris in early 1935, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from MS VI.B.33, p. [001]–back board recto, in Buffalo MS VI.C.6, pp. [150]–[239].