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Work in Progress"/Finnegans Wake Notebook (1925)

Material Description

The notebook is a tablet, perforated 1.4 cm. below its uppermost edge. It is the last example in the Buffalo Collection (along with MSS VI.B.16 and B.5) of a type of notebook Joyce used intermittently between April 1924 and July 1925,all of which are bound at the top edge.

The covers and the sheets were stapled twice in the center, halfway between the uppermost edge and the perforated line. The notebook’s covers are made of heavier tan cardboard; the versos of both covers are pink and it has a grey cloth tape spine. There is a decorative design printed in black ink on the front cover recto.Joyce wrote on the front cover verso and the back cover recto.

Joyce’s notes are probably in several kinds of lead pencil, except those on pp. [025], [039], and [147] that are in black ink. He wrote some or all the entries vertically on pp. [082], [083], [135], [136], and [147], and upside down on p. [154].

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


The manuscript now consists of 77 leaves (154 pages) of light black lined graph paper. At least 18 leaves were torn from the notebook, small fragments of which remain without any markings: 13 leaves between what are now pp. [152] and [153], and 5 between p. [153] and the back cover. The leaf that comprises pp. [153]–[154] has been torn in half, but is still attached to the notebook.

What are now catalogued as MSS VI.I.14 and VI.I.17 and VI.K.9 probably all belonged to MS VI.B.9, but their exact placement in the notebook cannot be determined at this stage but may have come from the back of the notebook.

Of the extant pages within the notebook, 151 pages are inscribed and only 3 are blank: pp. [088], [089], and [153]. Pages [001]–[004] and the front cover are detached from the notebook.


The manuscript measures 18.0 (16.6 + 1.4) x 10.4cm.


The pages are not numbered.


Joyce compiled this notebook from June to early July 1925 in Paris (TD 27).

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. At different times, Joyce wrote the following on the front cover verso: "" in lead pencil, "" in red crayon, as well as "t 12" in blue crayon. On the back cover recto, also at different times, Joyce wrote: "d" in lead pencil and "t 13" in green crayon. There is a black ink stain on p. [091].

There is a stationer’s label pasted vertically on the front cover verso that reads: "SPÉCIALITÉ de stylos | VENTE ET RÉPARATION | DE TOUTES MARQUES || LIBRARIE. PAPETERIE | 175, Rue de GRENELLE | PARIS. VIIe". (The same stationer’s label is affixed to the front cover verso of MS VI.B.12).


The manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile in JJA 31.001–078.


Mme France Raphael, Joyce’s amanuensis in Paris in late 1933, transcribed the notes Joyce did not cross through in crayon from this notebook, p. [001]–back cover recto, in Buffalo MS VI.C.4, pp. [154]–[219] (TD 32).