Genetic Joyce Studies - Issue 4 (Spring 2004)
Manuscript Timeline 1905-1922
Luca Crispi

I. 1905 – 1913: 14

II. 1914 –1916: 28

III. 1917-1918: 39

IV. 1918 –1919: 60

V. January – 8 July 1920: 70

VI. 12 July 1920 – March 1921: 81

VII. 8 April 1921 – August 1921: 93

VIII. 26 August 1921 – 2 February 1922: 113



I. 1905–1913:


  1. On 12 March 1905, Joyce and his family arrived in Trieste. They would remain there until 31 July 1906, when he left for Rome.
  2. On 30 September 1906, while in Rome, Joyce told his brother Stanislaus he was writing a story for Dubliners about a certain "Mr Hunter". It was to be called "Ulysses".
  3. On 7 March 1907, Joyce returned to Trieste. From 22 March 1907 to 16 May 1912, the Triestine newspaper Il Piccolo della Sera published at least eight of Joyce's journalistic essays.
  4. By 7 April 1908, Joyce had written the first three chapters of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  5. On 29 July 1909, Joyce and his son Giorgio travelled to Dublin to see about the publication of Dubliners by Maunsel & Co. and then went to visit Nora's family in Galway. 
  6. On 13 September, they returned to Trieste and then Joyce travelled back to Dublin on 21 October. On 20 December, Joyce opened the Volta, the first cinema in Dublin. In January 1910, Joyce returned to Trieste.
  7. In January 1910, Joyce compiled the so-called "Alphabetical Notebook". He used it to finish writing A Portrait and would later use for the opening of "Telemachus" (1). It is now at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
  8. In the summer of 1911, Joyce wrote a "Letter to the Editor" describing the difficulties he had encountered with the censors and printers in Dublin that had precluded the publication of Dubliners. It was published in the Belfast Northern Whig (26 August) and in the Dublin Sinn Féin (2 September).
  9. In early March 1912, Joyce delivered his lectures on Daniel Defoe and William Blake at the Università Popolare of Trieste.
  10. In the summer of 1912, Joyce returned to Ireland; this would be his final visit. While in Galway, Joyce developed certain scenes, using the exact wording he would later incorporate in "Proteus" (3). 
  11. In late-September 1912, as Joyce was returning to Trieste, he wrote a satirical broadside, Gas from a Burner, about the destruction of the sheets of Dubliners by John Falconer, the printers of the Dublin publisher, Maunsel & Co.
  12. From November 1912 to February 1913, Joyce presented his lectures on Hamlet at Università Popolare of Trieste. These ideas would form the nucleus of the "Scylla & Charybdis" (9) episode of Ulysses.
  13. From 1912 to 1914, Joyce wrote early drafts for several more episodes of Ulysses, including at least "Proteus" (3), "Lotus Eaters" (5), and "Hades" (6).
  14. On 23 December 1913, at Ezra Pound's instigation, the New Freewoman, edited by Dora Marsden and Harriet Shaw Weaver, became the Egoist. One of Pound's first initiatives was to contact James Joyce, offering to publish his work in the Egoist.



II. 1914–1916:


  1. On 15 January 1914, with Ezra Pound at the helm, the London magazine the Egoist published Joyce's "A Curious History" in its second issue. In it Joyce recounts the troubles he had encountered finding a publisher and printer in Dublin courageous enough to issue his book of short stories, Dubliners.
  2. On 2 February 1914, Joyce's thirty-second birthday, the Egoist began serialising A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce's semi-autobiographical novel ran serially in the Egoist for a year and a half in twenty-five non-consecutive installments.
  3. In February, with Pound's support, one of Joyce's early poems appeared in the New York poetry magazine Glebe. Joyce had included it in his first book, Chamber Music (1907). It was only the second of Joyce's literary works to appear in the United States.
  4. In the spring of 1914, Joyce wrote his only play, Exiles.
  5. On 15 June 1914, Grant Richards published the first Edition of Dubliners in London.
  6. During May 1915, Joyce's Dubliners stories, "The Boarding House" and "A Little Cloud", were published in the Smart Set in New York.
  7. On 16 June 1915 Joyce wrote to his brother Stanislaus that he had written the first episode of Ulysses, "Telemachus". At this stage, Ulysses already had three Parts, but he claimed they consisted of twenty-two episodes (not the eighteen that comprise the published work).
  8. By June 1915, Joyce had used notes from his "Alphabetical Notebook" to write the earliest episodes of Ulysses.
  9. On 1 September 1915, the final instalment of A Portrait appeared in the Egoist magazine.
  10. On 14 September 1916, Joyce sent W.B. Yeats his play, Exiles, saying he was writing a book called Ulysses that would not be finished for several more years.
  11. On 10 October 1916, Joyce wrote to his publisher and patron Harriet Shaw Weaver to say he was busy writing a book: "I am working at it as well as I can. It is called Ulysses and the action takes place in Dublin in 1904. I have almost finished the first part and have written out part of the middle and end. I hope to finish it in 1918". Ulysses was ultimately published on 2 February 1922.
  12. On 8 November 1916, Joyce wrote to Harriet Shaw Weaver that he had begun Ulysses in Rome "six years [ago] or seven" and that it would be finished in two more years. Joyce was actually in Rome in 1906, ten years before he wrote this letter.
  13. In late-December 1916 (and then again in April 1917), B.W. Huebsch published the first American edition of Dubliners
  14. On 29 December 1916, Huebsch published the first edition of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.


III. 1917–1918:


  1. On 12 February 1917, Harriet Shaw Weaver's Egoist Press published the first English edition of A Portrait.
  2. Then on 15 March 1917, Joyce wrote to his friend, the Irish writer, C.P. Curran that he had begun Ulysses in Rome "six or seven years ago" and would finish it in 1918.
  3. On 9 April, Joyce wrote to Ezra Pound that the only episode he had ready to send him was the "Hamlet chapter", that is, "Scylla & Charybdis" (9).
  4. In May and then in November 1917, the influential Chicago-based Poetry magazine printed seven of Joyce's poems. A decade later Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Company published these poems along with five more in Pomes Penyeach.
  5. By 5 June 1917, Joyce said he had finished "Lotus Eaters" (5) and "Hades" (6) and was gathering his notes for "Aeolus" (7).
  6. In August 1917, Grant Richards published the first English edition of Exiles. Joyce wrote that it would allow him to concentrate on Ulysses, "which if all goes well, I hope to have ready for publication next year".
  7. By the end of August 1917, Joyce assured Ezra Pound that he could consign Ulysses in 6000 word instalments for simultaneous serialisation in the Egoist and the Little Review beginning on 1 January 1918.
  8. In the summer of 1917, while in Zürich, Joyce wrote the earliest surviving Ulysses manuscript draft material for "Proteus" (3). It is now in the National Library. No early drafts for "Telemachus" (1) or "Nestor" (2) survive.
  9. From 12 October 1917 to January 1918, Joyce and his family lived in Locarno, Italy. He wrote the earliest complete draft of "Proteus" (3) in a form that is fairly close to the text as it would be published in the Little Review. It is part of the Joyce Collection at the University at Buffalo, New York.
  10. In September–October 1917, Joyce wrote-out the "Telemachus" (1) episode as a faircopy. His Zürich friend, Claud Sykes then typed it. The faircopy manuscript is at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  11. On 16 December 1917, Joyce sent Sykes "Nestor" to type.



IV. 1918–1919:


  1. From January to October 1918, while living at 38 Universitätstrasse, Zürich, Joyce compiled the earliest surviving notebook for Ulysses and used it to write and revise several of the early episodes of Ulysses.
  2. In January 1918, Elkin Mathews (London) published a second edition of Joyce's first collection of poetry, Chamber Music. That same year two American editions of the book were also published; an unauthorised edition by the Cornhill Company (Boston) and an authorised one by B.W. Huebsch (New York). Huebsch became a friend as well as the American publisher of Joyce's subsequent works.
  3. In 1918, Joyce wrote the earliest surviving draft of "Sirens" (11). The first portion was obviously copied from a now lost earlier draft, but Joyce wrote the rest of the manuscript as fragmentary texts. It was only uncovered in 2002 and is now at the National Library.
  4. By March 1918, the first three episodes of Ulysses had been typed. Joyce was encouraged by the news that his novel would begin to appear in serial form in the United States. "Telemachus" (1) appeared as "Ulysses I" in the New York literary magazine Little Review that month.
  5. On 25 May 1918, Huebsch published the first American edition of Joyce's only play, Exiles.
  6. By October 1918, six monthly instalments of Ulysses had appeared in the Little Review, reaching "Aeolus" (7).
  7. At the end of 1918, Joyce wrote "New Year's Eve, 1918 | End of First Part of Ulysses" on the last page of the faircopy version of "Scylla and Charybdis" (9). It marked a significant turning point in Joyce's conception and elaboration of Ulysses.
  8. In January-February 1919, the printers, The Complete Press, of West Norwood, set "Nestor" (2) for the Egoist, having previously refused to set "Telemachus" (1). In the United Kingdom, printers as well as publishers were liable to prosecution for obscenity. They also set "Proteus" (3), although with deletions. The printers then again refused to set "Calypso" (4) and "Lotus Eaters" (5).
  9. The January 1919 issue of the Little Review, which contained "Lestrygonians" (8), was seized in the U.S.
  10. In January–February 1919, Joyce wrote the tenth episode "Wandering Rocks", at least in the form in which it appears in Ulysses. Until the beginning of 1919, Ulysses seems to have only consisted of 17 episodes, not the 18 that comprise the published work. He wrote "Wandering Rocks" from notes, which he may have been accumulating as early as 1917.
  11. Between 1919 and 1921, Joyce transferred his earlier notes to large sheets and used them to write and revise the last seven episodes of Ulysses. These notesheets are at the British Library in London.
  12. In early 1919, Joyce's poor eyesight prevented him from completing the faircopy of "Wandering Rocks" (10). He wrote a note on the last page of this manuscript indicating that the second half of the episode was written by his "friend Francis Budgen at my dictation". Joyce made some revisions himself to this manuscript, but dictated still more to Budgen. It is a unique collaborative effort in Joyce's works.
  13. In March 1919, Joyce had "Wandering Rocks" (10) typed, sent it on to New York and it appeared in two issues of the Little Review in June and July 1919.
  14. On 20 July 1919, Joyce wrote to Weaver that it had taken him five months to prepare the first complete draft of "Sirens" (11). It fills two copybooks, the first half of which is at the National Library and the second is at the University at Buffalo, New York. Joyce said that after writing this episode he found it "impossible to listen to music of any kind".
  15. In June and July 1919, Joyce wrote the earliest surviving manuscripts of "Cyclops" (12). It is also in two copybooks, but reversing the situation of "Sirens" (11), the first half is in Buffalo and the second is in Dublin.
  16. In July 1919, the Egoist had  the first half of "Hades" (6) printed and published, and the rest appeared in their next issue in September. The following Egoist issue appeared four months later in December 1919 and contained a part of "Wandering Rocks" (10). It was the final instalment of Ulysses to appear in the Egoist magazine.
  17. On 3 August 1919, Joyce wrote to John Quinn that it took him "four or five months to write a chapter" of Ulysses. Even though Joyce still had the six most difficult (as well as some of the longest) episodes to write, surprisingly his schedule is fairly accurate: Ulysses would appear two and one half years after he wrote this letter.
  18. In August–September 1919, Joyce recopied "Cyclops" (12) as a faircopy. It appeared in three issues of the Little Review from November 1919 to January 1920.
  19. On 17 October 1919, Joyce and his family returned to Trieste from Zürich and remained there until 3 July 1920.
  20. From November 1919 to January 1920, Joyce wrote the earliest surviving draft of "Nausikaa" (13) in two copybooks. The first half of this episode is at Buffalo, whereas the second is at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
  21. On 7 December 1919, Joyce wrote to his agent, James B. Pinker, that the text as published in the Little Review was "not" his text and that when Ulysses appears it "is to be published as I wrote it with a few additions on the proofs".



V. January – 8 July 1920:


  1. In January 1920, the Little Review resumed publishing the novel. Three issues of the Little Review had appeared without any instalments of Ulysses. They reached the second instalment of the National Library episode, "Scylla & Charybdis" (9), in their April-May issue. This was the second issue of the Little Review to be seized by the U.S. authorities, but not the last.
  2. In early February 1920, Joyce began writing the earliest surviving draft of "Oxen of the Sun" (14). It consists of four copybooks, the first two are in Dublin and the others two in Buffalo. He called this episode "the most difficult episode in an odyssey, I think, both to interpret and to execute". Of course, he had still to grapple with "Circe" (15).
  3. In March and April 1920, Joyce wrote out the next version of "Oxen of the Sun", grouping clusters of parodies in ten different copybooks. These manuscripts are also dispersed between the Joyce Collections in Buffalo and Dublin.
  4. In early 1920, Joyce wrote to John Quinn, a New York patron and collector, who was buying the faircopy of Ulysses as Joyce produced it, that he still had to write the "adventure" of "Circe" (15). 
  5. On 11 March, Joyce reassured Quinn, claiming that the last three episodes, were "simpler" than the first three, "in part written" and that he expected "the book will be ready for publication in late autumn [1920]". Joyce greatly underestimated the difficulties both he and his book would encounter over the next two years.
  6. On 18 March 1920, Joyce said that he had calculated that it had taken him "1000 hours of work" to finish writing "Oxen of the Sun" (14). For five of the central episodes of Ulysses, including "Oxen", the extant Rosenbach faircopy was not used by the typist. The episode's extant typescript, which was completed on 24 March, contains revisions and additions that are not present on the Rosenbach manuscript.   
  7. From April to August 1920, the Little Review published "Nausikaa" (13). This episode provoked John S. Sumner and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice to lodge a complaint against the editors and the magazine for publishing obscenity.
  8. In its September-December 1920 issue, The Little Review published its final instalment of Ulysses, the first part of "Oxen of the Sun" (14).
  9. In December 1920, the Little Review was suspended.
  10. On 8 July 1920, James Joyce and his family arrived in Paris.



VI. 12 July 1920–March 1921:


  1. On 12 July 1920, Joyce wrote to Harriet Weaver that he and his family had arrived in Paris and were intending "to remain here three months in order to write the last adventure Circe in peace (?) and also the first episode of the close... I am very tired of it and so is everybody else".
  2. Beginning on 16 August 1920, Joyce variously claimed that he had re-written it "from first to last" five, six, even nine times. At 157 pages in the first edition, "Circe" (15) is by far the longest episode in the book. Only one early draft of the episode was known until 2000 when a new manuscript surfaced for sale at auction in New York. This was the first new Ulysses manuscript to appear in 40 years. The National Library acquired it and then, in 2002, yet another "Circe" (15) draft was uncovered and again, the National Library acquired it along with 13 other manuscripts for seven other episodes. It now seems less likely that Joyce was exaggerating the difficulty and the labour of writing "Circe". 
  3. In September 1920, Joyce prepared a first version of his plan (often referred to as a "schema") of Ulysses in Italian for his friend Carlo Linati.
  4. On 24 November 1920, while in Paris Joyce wrote to John Quinn that he had started Ulysses in "1914 and shall finish it, I suppose in 1921. This is, I think, the twentieth address at which I have written it – and I suppose the coldest."
  5. From January to December 1920, "Circe" (15) demanded an entire year of Joyce's creative labour.
  6. In January 1921, Joyce wrote out "Circe" (15) once again as a faircopy.
  7. In July 1920, when Joyce arrived in Paris he claimed that he had written drafts of the last three episodes, the "Nostos", Part III of Ulysses. He may even have written some portion of these episodes as early 1916, evidence of which may be found in the earliest surviving draft of "Eumaeus" (16).
  8. In January 1921, Joyce revised an earlier draft in a copybook he labelled "Eumeo" in three colours of ink, making it one of the most visually striking Ulysses manuscripts. This document surfaced in 2001 and was acquired by an anonymous collector at auction in London.
  9. Joyce recopied an earlier draft of the "Eumaeus" (16) episode again in January to mid-February 1921, and a portion of it survives at the University at Buffalo. One of the typists who worked on "Eumaeus" was prudish to the point of leaving blank spaces where she disapproved of certain words. Not only did Joyce make his usual rounds of corrections and additions to the typescript, but he was also compelled to fill-in such words as "shite" and "bloody" on the typescript to prepare it for the prospective printer of Ulysses.
  10. In February 1921, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, the editors of the Little Review, were tried and subsequently fined $50.
  11. On 24 March 1921, Joyce's American publisher, Huebsch, wrote to John Quinn, Joyce's patron and the lawyer who had unsuccessfully defended the editors of the Little Review, that he could not publish Ulysses without some alterations in the text. Joyce refused and, on 5 April, Huebsch formally declined to publish Ulysses.



VII. April 1921–2 August 1922:


  1. On 8 April 1921, the husband of one of the several typists who was engaged to prepare the "Circe" (15) episode read Joyce's manuscript and threw a portion of it in the fire. 
  2. By the end April 1921, a year after he had begun writing and re-writing the episode, the typescript was complete, but the work on it was far from done.
  3. In mid-April 1921, Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare and Company, Paris, and Maurice Darantiere, Master Printer, Dijon, signed a contract to print and publish James Joyce's Ulysses.
  4. In the spring of 1921, neither the printer nor the publisher could have known that Joyce had still to finish writing the last two episodes of the book: "Ithaca" (17) and "Penelope" (18). Joyce himself could not have known how difficult writing those 113 pages (a full one sixth of the book as published) would prove to be.
  5. At the start of May 1921, Shakespeare and Company began sending out copies of a subscription form for Ulysses. Greatly underestimating the difficulties that the author, publisher and printer would face over the next 10 months, it promised that Ulysses would appear in the autumn of 1921.
  6. From 11 to 17 June 1921, Darantiere set the first 5 episodes of Ulysses, "Telemachus" through "Lotus Eaters", in print as galley proofs (known as "placards" in French). Joyce revised these proofs for the next 10 days.
  7. Then, from 27 to 30 June, Darantiere went to the next phase of printing a book: he set the author's corrected and revised text of those 5 episodes in page proofs. Joyce needed 5 to 11 sets of proofs to accommodate his additions. In all, Ulysses grew approximately one-third longer from additions Joyce made on the proofs
  8. By 25 July 1921, Darantiere was temporarily forced to stop setting Ulysses in proofs because the printing house had run out of certain letters that are more common in English than in French: "w, h, e, and y".
  9. In August 1921, Joyce worked to finish "Penelope" (18) before completing "the spectral and penultimate" episode, "Ithaca" because he was anxious that Valery Larbaud read it. 
  10. On 11 August, Darantiere's chief printer contacted Joyce about the numerous compound words in Ulysses. Hirschwald, who knew more English than the rest of the printers, noted that he had always seen these as two words, and wanted Joyce to confirm that he really wanted them all as one-word units.
  11. At the end of August 1921, Joyce turned to Robert McAlmon, his friend and fellow author, to type "Penelope" (18). McAlmon was just the last in a long line of amateur typists that helped produce Ulysses.
  12. In August 1921, the printers set the five episodes, "Aeolus" (6) to "Wandering Rocks" (10), in galley proofs for the first time. By mid-August, Joyce had incorporated the newspaper "headlines" to "Aeolus" (7). These "crossheads" that distinguish this episode from all the others had not appeared in the Little Review version and were only added at this late stage. This modification signalled a profound reorientation of the second half of Ulysses.



VIII. 26 August 1921–2 February 1922:


  1. On 26 August 1921, Joyce collapsed in the Alhambra music hall from the strain of overwork, prompting him to reduce the number of hours he spent writing and revising Ulysses from 16 to 5 or 6 and taking 8-mile walks around Paris once or twice a day.
  2. In late August, after the text had been set three times, twice in page proofs, Darantiere took the unusual and costly step of actually resetting the first 5 episodes back in galley proofs. The extraordinary willingness of both the publisher and printer of the book to accommodate Joyce's changes to the text made Ulysses as we know it possible.  
  3. In the autumn of 1921, Joyce wrote three new, major additional scenes for Ulysses from his "store-house" of notes. At the start of September the final sentence of "Penelope" seemingly did not exist in manuscript form. Joyce wrote it out in his faircopy hand at the end of that month and sent it directly to the printer without bothering to have it typed.
  4. By 21 September, the first three episodes, the "Telemachiad" were in their final state for the first edition of Ulysses. Joyce's revisions required that "Calypso" (4) be re-set once again, but "Lotus Eaters" (5) took three more printings before he was finished with it in mid-October.
  5. By 24 September 1921, Joyce had written "Trieste–Zürich–Paris | 1914–1921". Ulysses finally had its ending, but Joyce still had "Ithaca" to finish and thousands of pages of proofs for all 18 episodes to correct.
  6. On 26 September 1921, Joyce asked that several corrections be made to "Telemachus" (1), even though he had signed-off on them the week before. This was the beginning of various efforts to correct the text of the first edition. Darantiere was able to institute one change on one of the three series of the first edition.
  7. From 21 September to 5 October 1921, Darantiere's printing house was busy with 9 different episodes of Ulysses, from "Calypso" (4) to "Cyclops" (12), the most they would ever handle at one time.
  8. By 22 September 1921, "Calypso" (4) and "Lotus Eaters" (5) were set in print for the 6th time; the last for "Calypso", though the other was re-set twice more.
  9. In September 1921, Joyce wrote Bloom's "stump speech" for "Circe" (15), which is often referred to as the "Messianic Scene". Joyce had it typed, revised it and sent it Darantiere on 23 September.
  10. October 1921 was the printer's busiest month. At its start, Darantiere set the next two episodes, "Sirens" (11) and "Cyclops" (12), in print for the first time; they would set "Sirens" six times and "Cyclops" nine. Joyce had finished correcting and revising "Sirens" at the end of October, but he continued to revise "Cyclops" until mid-November 1921.
  11. In October, Joyce wrote the last new addition to Ulysses. It is known as the "Metropolitan Police" scene in "Cyclops" (12). Like the last sentence of "Penelope", he sent it directly to the printer for inclusion in Ulysses as a handwritten faircopy.
  12. By 6 October 1921, Joyce, Beach and Darantiere were still searching for blue paper to match the colour of the Greek flag that Joyce wanted for the cover of Ulysses.
  13. In mid-October 1921, the first galley proofs of "Penelope" (18) were printed. On 20 October, the printers set "Circe" (15) in proof for the first time; it was in proof an astonishing 10 more times, from the start of November right up until late January 1922.
  14. With the 2 February 1922 deadline looming, Joyce used two different typists with two typewriters to prepare "Ithaca" (17) for the printer. Not only was it typed 4 separate times, but Joyce revised each one and then revised its five sets of proofs as well.
  15. On 29 October 1921, Joyce announced that he had finished writing "Ithaca" (17) and so the composition of Ulysses was complete. Joyce, in fact, added 16% more text from notes to the typescript before he sent it to the printer a full month later. He then managed to add a further 18% more text to "Ithaca" on the proofs.
  16. At the end of November, the printers still had some hope that Ulysses might be ready by the end of year.
  17. In November, the printers set "Penelope" (18) a second time, "Cyclops" (12) an eighth time, and "Nausikaa" (13) and "Oxen of the Sun" (14) a third time each. "Cyclops" had to be re-set once more the following week, whereas the other two episodes had to be re-set twice more and Joyce was only finished with them at the end of November.
  18. On 3 January 1922, the printers claimed that they had finished composing Ulysses.
  19. On 12 January, the printers informed Beach that they would not be able to find suitable blue paper for the cover. So it was decided that it would be printed in blue on white paper, with the title and author's name in reserve in white. By 27 January, Joyce had chosen the exact tint of blue he wanted and the covers were then printed.
  20. On 2 February 1922, two copies of the book (numbered 901 and 902) were sent by train from Dijon to Paris and Ulysses was "now ready".