Genetic Joyce Studies - Issue 2 (Spring 2002)
Dating the Finnegans Wake Drafts
Geert Lernout

For some while, it has been common knowledge that the dates of the Finnegans Wake drafts given in the relevant volumes of the James Joyce Archive volumes, are not always accurate. For The Edition of the "Finnegans Wake" Notebooks at Buffalo, Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer and I were confronted with this problem, since we decided early in the preparatory work for the edition to date the insertion of each deleted item in the notebooks. On the other hand, our work on editing the notebooks has enabled us in some cases to correct the Archive’s dates. In the introduction to our edition of VI.B.29, I was in the position to give much more specific dates for the different drafts of Haveth Childers Everywhere: the typescript III§3B.13 was made early in 1930 and not late in 1929; III§3B.14, dated in JJA as "probably early 1930", must have been made in late February or the beginning of March. The late typed additions to this typescript, III§3B.14+, must therefore date from early April, when the typescript had already been sent to the printers of Haveth Childers Everywhere.

Since the three editors want to reflect the latest state of knowledge about the draft dates, we have created a file with a list of drafts and their current dating. We give the full draft, the moment when the draft itself was made (or the period in which it must have been created) and finally the period during which the draft was active, ie when Joyce was adding words and passages taken from his notebooks.

We would be very greatful for all comments about this list. If you have suggestions about changes to a specific draft, please let us know and provide us with the arguments and evidence. If your emendation is convincing, it will be adopted and, of course only if you agree, we will post your argument on the website. Please send all suggestions to or by mail to:

Geert Lernout
James Joyce Centre
Universiteitsplein 1
B2610 Wilrijk
Fax 32 3 820 2762