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VIII.A.3: Other Notebooks: Early Zurich French Notebook (1915–1916)1

Material Description and Collation

The manuscript is a pocket-sized exercise notebook with blue paper covers, with a white paper label with scalloped edges pasted on the front cover recto. It consists of 20 leaves (40 pages) of ruled paper with blue printed horizontal lines; the sheets are stitched three times in the center with a single thread and folded in half vertically to form the notebook. Joyce only wrote on pp. [1r]–[8r] and [18v]–[20v] in lead pencil; the remaining 20 pages are blank. The notebook is similar to Buffalo MSS VIII.A.4 and V.A.2.a [MS VIII.A.5.], both of which Joyce used in Zurich from 1915 to 1918.


The manuscript measures 17.4 x 10.9 cm.


The pages are not numbered.


The notebook contains notes in French, with some translations and associated notations in English, and a draft of a translated article. Rodney Wilson Owen discusses this notebook in detail in his James Joyce and the Beginnings of “Ulysses, pp. 86–91. Pages [1r]–[8r] contain notes from various sources, of which Owen has identified "Quinze Jours de ‘Cavalo’ ou La Retour de Don Juan" in La Vie Parisienne, 13 November 1915, as the source for the notes on pp. [3v] and [4r] (see Owen, pp. 87–89). Presumably, all of the notes come from printed sources. None of the entries are crossed out in colored crayon and no draft usage of the notes has been discovered. Nonetheless, this notebook provides a unique insight into Joyce’s reading interests at this crucial juncture in his works.

Presumably later, Joyce turned the notebook back to front and wrote a sample draft translation in English of a German article for the International Review (Owen, pp. 89–91) on pp. [20v]–[16v] (in that order). Owen has ascertained that the article ("The Crisis of Pacifism" by Paul Natropy that was published in the 20 February 1916 issue of International Review) "is apparently Joyce’s English translation of a nearly 7,000-word German article which had appeared in a sister publication, the Internationale Rundschau, on February 15" and Owen therefore claiMS that the draft of the article here may have been the basis for Joyce’s translation (Owen, p. 89).


Joyce probably used this notebook from late 1915 to early 1916.

Other Markings

On the label on the front cover, Joyce wrote "[Kretelgasse/ Shehlgass] 27, III" in light pencil, which is barely legible on the JJA reproduction, as well as the following words: "almost" (crossed in red crayon), "rocking language", "Hazelhatch" (crossed in blue crayon), and "incomplete words". On p. [18v], Joyce wrote "Hague (7 – 12 April 1915)".


This manuscript has been reproduced in black and white photo-facsimile on JJA 3.354–374.


In 1983, Owen wrote of Buffalo MS VIII.A.3 that it is "currently all but unknown in Joyce scholarship" and that it "has previously escaped attention due to difficulties of assessing the vocabulary lists and the lack of recognition that sources for them may be found in magazines" (pp. 86 and 87). The scholarship on this notebook has not progressed much since then, even with its reproduction in the JJA and the confirmation that most of Joyce’s notes are source-based and the relative ease with which source material can now be accessed.

  1. La Hune, item 72; Slocum & Cahoon, item E.12.d.i.