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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1938)

Material Description

The manuscript is a diary or album, with brown-and-white designed paper pasted to the insides of the covers and the design was applied to the front flyleaf recto and the back flyleaf verso. It is covered in brown colored imitation leather; the front cover recto is decorated with four stamped black-and-gold ornaments that are identical to those on MS VI.B.27. The cover is detached from the binding but the front cover is still attached to the notebook, while the spine and back cover are no longer attached. The gatherings are split but still partially held together by the stitching. It is generically similar to MSS VI.B.23 and VI.B.27 that Joyce used from September 1928 to July 1929.

The notes are in Joyce’s hand in the following inks and pencils:

Writing Implement Manuscript Pages
Lead pencil: Front flyleaf verso, pp. [001]–[009], [061]–[074], [083], [093]–[096], [098], [100], [110], and [156]
Black ink: pp. [008], [024], [042], [043], [153], [154], and [155]
Blue pencil: pp. [009]–[014], [016]–[038], [040]–[047], [050]–[061], [070], [071], [072] [097], [122], [152], and the back flyleaf recto
Green ink: pp. [074]–[082], [084]–[092], [098]–[153], [156], and the back flyleaf recto

Joyce wrote some of the notes on p. [100] and all of them on p. [097] vertically. He used red, green, and blue colored crayons to cross through the notes he had used in his manuscripts.


The manuscript consists of 78 leaves (156 pages) of heavy, unlined paper; all of the leaves have gilt edges. The manuscript is composed of 8 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 8th gatherings are composed of 18 pages and the 2nd through 7th gatherings of 20 pages); none of the leaves are detached.
152 pages, as well as the front flyleaf verso and back flyleaf recto, are inscribed; 4 are blank: pp. [015], [039], [048], and [049].


The manuscript measures 17.5 x 12.0 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from January to February 1938 in Paris and in Zurich (TD 34).

Other Markings

There is a note in an unidentified hand on the front flyleaf verso in blue crayon; the train schedule from Paris to Zurich and Lausanne on p. [072] and the phone number on p. [110] are also in unidentified hands in lead pencil. There is a partial and illegible stationer’s label pasted to the front cover verso.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile (some of the pages were reproduced again with orange/red color filters) in JJA 40.001–110.


Mme FranceRaphael, Joyce’s amanuensis, did not transcribe this notebook.