GENETIC JOYCE STUDIES - Issue 3 (Spring 2003)



The Transfer from Notebooks to Drafts in 'Work in Progress'


Finn Fordham


The recent publication by Brepols of the first three notebooks at Buffalo is to be widely welcomed. There is one area however that was not perhaps sufficiently covered and that is which notebook entries were transferred to which drafts. There is an Appendix to each volume which tells you which notebook entries appear on which pages of Finnegans Wake, and there is an Abstract of Draft Usage which lists the draft stages to which material was added. However there is no table that arranges the transferred notebook entries according to the draft stages in which they were used. To illustrate this rather technical matter, I am supplying two tables of the information here, compiled from the Brepols edition. The tables list the draft pages of a particular draft stage and, for each page, the location of the notebook entries transferred to it are indicated.

In the first table I have included a column of brief notes about the relevant draft pages in the Archive. After both is a brief analysis. The notes give a rough idea of how the notebook entries were used (whether as a small self-same unit or to help make up a new unit) and to give a sense of proportion, i.e. how many revisions on that page there were. The analysis that follows shows what issues are opened up by this table – and what further work for geneticists it invites.

The research carries with it the suggestion that the editors of the Buffalo notebooks might incorporate elements of it as an appendix in their edition. Now for the context behind the tables: in the early months of 1930 Joyce used VI.B.29 (and other notebooks) to supplement HCE's citybuilder's crescendo speech that had appeared in transition 15 and would eventually form the ending of chapter III.3. This was the twelfth draft level for the section: there would be three more before the piece was published in a special edition of Haveth Childers Everywhere by Jack Kahane. We can see how Joyce flicked through his notebook from the following table:


Use of VI.B.29 on III§3B.12. February 1930

Archive location (from JJA 59, and MS 47484b)

Location of notebook entries transferred from VI.B.29.

Notes on the draft page in the Archive.

86; -356

75c, 75b, 75e, 67h.

These combine to make one unit. There are 5 other units. These 'other' units are made up from notes in other notebooks. The same applies to 'other units' mentioned below.

87; -357

49a, 61f, 103a, 107b

These form or contribute to four separate units. There are 7 units in all.

88; -358

5g, 16f, 16g

Three separate units – the latter two adjacent. The page is heavily revised - there are 18 units in all.

89; -387


B29 not used. Heavily revised (11 units) but not from this notebook.

90, -362


B29 not used. 10 units of revision.

91; -388


B29 not used. 9 units.

92; -364


Contributes to one unit. There are 10 in all.

93; -365

ffrc, 30e, 66b

The first is possibly a mistake in the Brepols edition. "Culprick" appeared on JJA 67, on the revisions made to transition (47484b-353) though it was changed to "culprik" (the note on ffrc) on JJA 92. Should we change the start date of the notebook? The second contributes to a unit, the third is a substitution. There 11 units in all.

94; -366


B29 not used. Revised with 7 units.

95; -389


B29 not used. One lengthy unit and 7 others.

96; -390


B29 not used. 11 units.

97; -391


Added at the end of one lengthy unit.

98; -392


B29 not used.

99; -375

43, 50c

The first contributes to one unit as a substitution. The second contributes to another unit. 8 units in all.

100; -378


Makes one unit. 12 units in all, mostly single word.

101; -379


Contributes to one unit. 5 units in all.

102; -395


B29 not used. 6 units.

103; -396


B29 not used. 7 lengthy units.

104; -383

2a, 28e, 51d, 61e, 78b, 78d

First two contribute to single units, third forms a most of a unit, fourth, fifth and sixth contribute to single units. 11 units in all. On this page, at this draft level, B29 is most heavily used.

105; -384


Contributes to a substitution. 7 units.

106; -385

ffrb, 22c, 34f, 39b, 41c


So can we uncover a system for Joyce's use of the notebooks for revision? It varies from draft page to draft page. Sometimes the notes used are close to one another in the notebook (as on page 86), possibly from a cluster of notes with a shared source. At other times they are disparate (as on page 104). For some pages the notebook provides nothing; elsewhere five or six entries may be used (p. 106, 104). As we shall see, Joyce did not necessarily move forward through the notebook in order for each draft page. One things is clear: he was ranging widely over the notebook, and other notebooks – as if to ensure an aesthetic of continuous relocated dislocation, as if a portion of text could connected anywhere, no matter how disparate.

While we can get an idea of how Joyce moved in and out of this notebook as his revisions progressed, for a fuller idea we have to recognize – again – that Joyce was in fact using several notebooks simultaneously in revising a passage. This fact intensifies our sense of the bizarre complexity of Joyce's method of composition, especially in the way he was combining scattered elements into one 'revision unit' – whether consisting of two words or longer phrases. This cannot be properly assessed, however, until the elements used from other notebooks on a given draft page are collated with this one.

To indicate how VI.B.29 was used on a sample page, we can transcribe JJA59:104 as follows. The words in plain type are the material Joyce was revising. Those in italic are the revisions, and those in bold italic are revisions that draw on VI.B.29. The notebook location is indicated in square brackets after each unit (hyperlinks would obviously make this textually clearer).

[...] I prevened for thee in the haunts that joybelled frail light-a-leaves for sturdy traemen: pelves ad hombres sumus: I said to the shiftless prostitute; Let me be your fodder; and to roadies and prater brothers; Chau, Camerade!: my tow tugs steered down canal grand, my lighters lay longside on Regalia Water. And I built in Urbs in Rure, for mine elskede, my shiny brows, under astrolobe from my upservatory, [2a] an earthcloset wherewithin to be quit in most covenience from her sabbath needs, when open noise should stilled be : [61e] did not I festfix my unniversiries, wholly rational and gottalike, sophister agen sorefister, [78d] life sizars all?: [78b] was I not rosetted on two stellas of little egypt? had not I rockcut readers, hieros, gregos and democriticos?: triscastellated, bimedallised: [28e] and by my sevendialled changing charties Hibernska Ulitzas made not I to pass through twelve Threadneedles and Newgade and Vicus Veneris to cooinsight?: my camels' walk, kolossa kolossa! no porte sublimer benared my ghates: Oi polled ye many but my fews were chousen (Voter, voter, early voter, he was never too oft for old Sarum): terminals four my statiens were, the Geenar, the Greasouwea, the Debwickweck, the Mifgreawis. And I sept up twinminsters, the pro and the con, my stavekirks wove so norcely of peeled wands and attachatouchy floodmud, now all loosebrick and stonefest, [51d] freely masoned arked for covennanters and shinners' rifuge: all truanttrulls made I comepull, all rubbeling gnomes I pushed, gowgow: oathiose infernals to Booth Salvation, arcane celestials to Sweatenburgs Welhell!! My seven wynds I trailed to maze her and ever a wynd had saving closes and all these closes flagged with the gust, hoops for her, hatsoff for him and /

From this we can see the order in which Joyce used the notebook. He picked out a word from page 2, moved forward to 61 and found another, then moved forward again to 78. Then he flicked back to 28, then on again to 51. In addition we can get a sense of proportion: the typescript Joyce was revising consisted – on this page – of 228 words. He added another 52, increasing the text by about 23%, just 9 of which had a source in VI.B.29.

Now, to get a further sense of proportion and a comparative perspective, we can table the next but one draft level, that is III§3B.14. This was a set of revisions made for the printer of Haveth Childers Everywhere:


Use of VI.B.29 on III§ 3B.14, Spring 1930

Archive page (from JJA59 and BM 47484b)

Location of notebook entries transferred from VI.B.29.

165; -426

B29 not used.

166; -427


167; -428

134f, 169e, 195a, 201d, 202c, 202d, 207b

168; -429


169; -430

151d, 155b, 156b, 161b, 161e, 182f, 198f, 198g, 202f

170; -430v

[no text]

171; -431

150b, 185h, 201f, 211b

172; -432

196a, 204d, 204k, 204l, 207g

173; -433

131b, 156h, 199f, 199g, 199h

174; -433v


175; -434

135a, 201h

176; -435


177; -436

156c, 156d, 207i

178; -437

116a, 126a, 126d, 132b, 132c

179; -438

40b, 79b, 156a, 157a, 157f, 188b, 190j, 200d, 211g

180; -440

156i, 157e

181; -441

120c, 126e, 127b, 131h, 132a, 132d, 132e, 132f, 136q, 183c, 183h

182; -442

137b, 156j

183; -443

123j, 126b, (131e), 154a, 154b, 154c, 155a

184; -443v

[no text]

185; -445

62d, 123c, 156f, 161g, 161h, 181d, 181i, 186d, 191e, 201c,

186; -446

70d, 157b, 157d, 181e

187; -447

135g, 176f, 180c, 202h, 202i


[no text]

189; -448

129g, 135e, 160a, 177a, 177b, 200f, 200g, 200i, 212e, 213b

190; -448v


191; -449

178f, 178g, 190e, 195f, 196f, 198f, 203a

192; -449v

[no text]

193; -450

206a, 206c

194; -451

103c, 103d, 127d, 127e, 133a, 133b, 133c, 133d, 163h, 163i, 203b, 203d

195; -452


196; -453

8c, 129b, 157h, 177g, 192e, 202e, 203e, 203f, 209a, 209f, 209g, 216d

197; -454

53d, 67c, 162b, 175h, 177c, 177d, 177f, 180j

198; -456

127c, 135c, 158a, 158b, 158c, 158d, 158e, 158f, 159d, 159e, 159f, 159g, 159j, 186e, 207j, 207k

199; -456

125g, 135f, 136d, 136e, 207h

200; -457

190d, 198c

201; -468


Compared with III§3B.12, the notebook at this level is being far more heavily ransacked – not just because the section has become longer but there is greater use per page. Only on the first page of the typescript is VI.B.29 not used. Every other page has something from VI.B.29, and page 198 has sixteen elements. Many of these make up a list (a list within a list) of architects who helped design and build civic Dublin. The notebook is proving more valuable, or Joyce is wishing to have more of the intertextual colour it can provide within his textual mosaic. Continuing this comparative use of the tables, we could eventually have a sense of how the use of a notebook rose and fell during composition, and its relative importance compared to other notebooks.

The immediate stage of research following this one will be to integrate other notebook usage and arrange it according to the draft pages – then we will have an idea of how Joyce pulled out his material from what kind of variety of sources.