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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1939)

Material Description

The manuscript is a pocket-sized notebook, vertically bound in laminated black imitation snakeskin covers over boards; the insides of the boards are made of light gray paper. Joyce’s notes are in lead pencil.

Joyce had used this type of notebook sporadically in 1924, 1925, 1933, and 1935–1936 (also see MSS VI.B.7, VI.B.14, VI.B.43, and VI.B.40).

There are no colored crayon markings in this notebook but Joyce crossed through some of the notes on p. [050] in black ink.


The manuscript consists of 48 leaves (96 pages) of purple-lined graph paper; 60 pages are inscribed and 36 are blank: pp. [60]–[95].


The manuscript measures 17.0 x 10.6 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from Summer to Fall 1939 in Switzerland, Brittany, and Paris (TD 35), notably after the publication of Finnegans Wake on 4 May 1939.

Other Markings

On the front cover verso, the notebook is stamped "[trademark] | No. 54" and there is a printed stationer’s label pasted to that reads: "M. & P. Kuhn Papeterie | Bahnhofplatz 3, Bern", with "1.05" written in lead pencil. Joyce also affixed his own address label in the bottom left corner also on the front cover verso that reads: "James Joyce | 34 Rue des Vignes | Paris XVI" (his Paris address from late April through August 1939). The computations on p. [96] are not in Joyce’s hand.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 40.293–323.


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