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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1929)

Material Description

The manuscript is a black cloth covered, hard board accounting ledger book, with blue-and-white marbled design paper pasted to the front cover verso and front flyleaf recto as well as to the back flyleaf verso and back cover recto. The pages are blue-edged. The spine is cracked and semi-detached from the notebook, but the notebook is held together by the stitching. The notes are in Joyce’s hand and those of one or more amanuenses (including on pp. [050], [051], [122], [124], [226], [227], [312], [313], [334], and [336]), in possibly several kinds of pencils, including lead and grease, black ink (on pp. [047], [284], and [311]) and red crayon (on p. [273]).

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.24, VI.B.29, VI.B.28, VI.B.32, VI.B.33, VI.B.31, VI.B.36, VI.B.38, and VI.B.41/VI.C.18).

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


The manuscript consists of 168 leaves (336 pages) of blue, red, and purple horizontal and vertical lined paper in 14 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 14th gatherings are composed of 20 pages, the 2nd through 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th, and 13th gatherings of 24 pages, and the 8th and 10th gatherings of 28 pages); none of the pages are detached. 229 pages as well as the front flyleaf verso and back flyleaf recto are inscribed; only 7 are blank: pp. [049], [080], and [099]–[103]. Joyce wrote some of the notes on pp. [135], [175], [186], and [187] upside down.


The manuscript measures 21.2 x 13.2 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from January through late April 1929 in Paris (TD 29–30).

Other Markings

Traces of the pencil markings from the notes as well as of the color crayon from cross through markings appear on many facing pages. Raphael marked the back flyleaf recto with her initial "R" in black ink, presumably after she had transcribed the notebook.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 29.263–429.


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.4, front flyleaf verso–p. [011] MS VI.C.16, p. [275]–back flyleaf recto; continued on
MS VI.B.4, p. [011]–back flyleaf recto MS VI.C.15, pp. [001]–[176]

The draft text on pp. [050] and [051], which is probably in Lucia Joyce’s hand, was used as notes for the insertion on BL 47484a, f. 282v, which was also typed separately (see Buffalo MS VI.F.6).