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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1925)

Material Description

The manuscript is a sturdy pocket-sized notebook, vertically bound in glossy laminated black imitation snakeskin covers over light boards. Lavender paper is pasted to the insides of the covers and outer sides of the flyleaves.

All of the notes are in Joyce’s hand in lead pencil. Joyce inadvertently wrote a further set of notes over notes he had already written, presumably due to his poor eyesight at this time.

Joyce used this type of notebook sporadically in 1924, 1925, 1933, 1935–1936, and then again 1939 (also see MSS VI.B.14, VI.B.43, VI.B.40, and VI.B.48).

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


The manuscript consists of 120 leaves (240 pages) of light black lined graph paper in 10 stitched gatherings (the 1st and 10th gatherings are composed of 22 pages, the 2nd through 7th and the 9th gatherings of 24 pages, and the 8th of 28 pages). 209 pages are inscribed; 31 are blank: pp. [002], [003], [008], [009], [013], [015], [028], [029], [032], [033], [038], [039], [041], [043], [047], [065], [101], [102], [125], [129], [135], [139], [143], [174] [181], [182], [183], [189], [234], [235], and [237]. Joyce filled pp. [103]–[107], [114], and [115] upside down and wrote all the notes on the front flyleaf verso and pp. [018] and [019] vertically.


The manuscript measures 14.7 x 9.5 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from March to mid April 1925 in Paris (TD 27).

Other Markings

Joyce marked the front flyleaf verso with a "" in red crayon, the back flyleaf recto "dabc" in lead pencil, and the back flyleaf verso " | " also in lead pencil. On the front flyleaf recto " Grace | Exiles II | Clay" were written in an unidentified hand (probably Giorgio Joyce’s) in lead pencil.


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 30.170–292.


Mme France Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris in early 1935, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in this notebook as follows:

Primary Notebook Scribal Notebook
MS VI.B.7, front flyleaf recto–p. [197] MS VI.C.5, pp. [224]–[280]; continued on
MS VI.B.7, p. [198]–back flyleaf recto MS VI.C.7, pp. [001]–[019]