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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1936)

Material Description

The notebook is a black cloth covered, hard board accounting ledger book. The insides of the boards, the front flyleaf recto and back flyleaf verso are light gray paper (similar to that in MSS VI.B.21, B.24, B.28, and B.33), whereas the verso of the front flyleaf and the recto of the back flyleaf are white paper. The fore-edges are speckled red. Joyce’s notes are in lead pencil. He wrote some or all of the notes on pp. [115], [156], and [157] upside down and wrote vertically on the front cover verso, the front flyleaf verso, and the back flyleaf recto. The address in lead pencil on p. [036] is not in Joyce’s hand.

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.32, VI.B.33, VI.B.31, VI.B.36, and VI.B.41/VI.C.18).

Joyce used red colored crayon(s) to cross through notes he had used in his manuscripts.


The manuscript consists of 100 leaves (200 pages) of blue horizontal and blue red vertical lined white wove paper in 8 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 8th gatherings are composed of 20 pages, the 2nd through 5th gatherings of 28 pages, and the 6th and 7th gatherings of 24 pages). Portions of pp. [189]–[190] were torn off vertically, though the margin of the leaf is still attached to the spine; the pages appear to have been blank. 196 pages as well as the front board verso, back board recto, the front flyleaf verso, and both sides of the back flyleaf, are inscribed; only 2 are blank: pp. [138] and [139].


The manuscript measures 18.8 x 12.2 cm.


The pages are stamped "1"–"200" in black ink, in the upper left corner on even-numbered pages and in the upper right corner on odd-numbered pages.


Joyce compiled this notebook from spring to September 1936 in Paris and Denmark (TD 33).

Other Markings

The front cover verso is stamped with stationer’s mark in black ink: "3902" (VI.B.28 is similarly marked) and there is a stationer’s mark in lead pencil in the upper right corner of the front flyleaf recto that reads: "9.50". Mme Raphael marked the back cover recto with an "R" in lead pencil (not black ink, as elsewhere), presumably after she had transcribed the notebook. There is an ink stain on p. [021].


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 38.123–225.


  Mme Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris in early 1937, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from MS VI.B.38, front flyleaf verso–back flyleaf verso in Buffalo MS VI.C.18, pp. [001]–[095]. This is the last notebook she transcribed for Joyce.