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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1936)

Material Description

The manuscript is a pocket-sized notebook, covered in stiff light brown colored board and bound with a dark red cloth tape spine. The front cover verso, back cover recto, and both flyleaves are made of plain white paper. Joyce’s notes are primarily in lead pencil, but some or all the notes on the front cover verso, front flyleaf recto, pp. [134]–[206], [208]–[228], and the back cover recto are in purple colored pencil; those on pp. [133], [234], [235], [236], and the back cover recto are in black ink. Joyce wrote some or all of the notes on pp. [158], [159], and [228] vertically. The notes at the top of p. [003] and on p. [104] are in unidentified hands in lead pencil.

This notebook is similar in kind 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.44, VI.B.42, VI.B.47, and VI.B.30 that Joyce used periodically from June 1925 to the end of 1938.

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


The manuscript now consists of 119 leaves (238 pages) of light black lined graph paper in 10 stitched gatherings (the 1st through 9th gatherings are composed of 24 pages and the 10th of 22 pages); part of pp. [223]–[224] and all of the leaf following p. [230] have been torn from the notebook (it has not been counted in the pagination here or in the JJA). 231 pages, as well as the front cover verso, back cover recto, front flyleaf recto, and both sides of the back flyleaf, are inscribed; 6 pages are blank: pp. [002], [004], [005], [006], [069], and [207]. Joyce filled the front flyleaf recto and p. [237] and some of p. [238] upside down.


The manuscript measures 20.6 x 13.0 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from September to December 1936 in Paris (TD 33).

Other Markings

There is a stationer’s mark in pencil in the upper right corner of the front flyleaf recto, which may be the price in Francs, that reads: "4 –". Mme Raphael marked the back cover recto with an "R" in lead pencil, presumably after she had transcribed the notebook.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 38.001–121.


Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris in 1936–early 1937, transcribed MS VI.B.37 on MS VI.C.17, pp. [151]–[237], but in this instance she transcribed the notes in an inverse sequence; that is, from the back flyleaf verso of VI.B.37 to the front cover verso, backwards, page by page (verso-recto), from the top to bottom of each of the notebook’s pages.