Ulysses from Notes and Drafts to Editions and Revisions

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2002

24 Pages, Grade: 2,0 (B)



1 Introduction

2 The first steps towards Ulysses
2.1 Notes
2.2 Notebooks
2.3 Drafts
2.4 Fair Copy
2.5 Manuscripts
2.6 Typescripts

3 The different editions and serialisation
3.1 The first publication of episodes
3.2 Proofreading
3.3 The first book edition

4 A new attempt
4.1 An overview of Hans Walter Gabler’s work
4.2 The continuous manuscript
4.3 The synoptic and the reading text

5 The critic against Gabler’s work
5.1 Kidd’s criticism on Gabler
5.2 Kidd’s influence on publication
5.3 What do others think about Gabler

6 Conclusion

1. Introduction

James Joyce‘s idea was to add a short story to Dubliners, named Ulysses, he never wrote it. But he kept the idea and wrote a novel instead, which took him seven years. In the early stages of planning the work was imagined to extend to 22 episodes, than reduced to 17 episodes, in the end 18 episodes were realised. On 29th October 1921 he declared the text to be finished, but he continued to correct and revise it until the end of January 1922, only short time before publication on 2nd February 1922, James Joyce’s fortieth birthday.

Because it took him such a long time, it is doubtful if the final text is the one Joyce planed to write or had he just been stopped in his process by the deadline of his publisher. Supposing that was the case is there the possibility to find out what he wanted to achieve and how could that be made.

In a first step I want to point out Joyce’s process of writing and proceeding, his habit of taking notes and working with them. This will lead to the different serialisations respectively editions and the project Hans Walter Gabler undertook to edit the „Corrected Ulysses“ including the occurring problems and what other Joyceans thought and still think about it.

2. The first steps towards Ulysses

To give a first impression of Joyce’s working and the way this paper will advance I want to introduce a scheme set up by P.F. Herring.[1] Although there are variations with each episode there is a general agreement that Ulysses was written in the following sections:

1. First rough draft or first, raw notes
2. note sheets
3. more rough drafts
4. Rosenbach Manuscript (fair copies)
5. Typescripts
6. corrected, revised galleys
7. page proof

2.1 Notes

The problems started with Joyce’s way of collecting ideas and taking notes. “Joyce‘s way of thinking out the book was to assemble discrete details on little scraps of paper“[2] or any thing he could write on. His close friend Frank Budgen explained that

(He used) little writing blocks specially made for the waistcoat pocket. At intervals, alone or in conversation, seated or walking, one of these tablets was produced, and a word or two scribbled on it at lightning speed as ear or memory served his turn.[3]

At the drafting stage he sorted out these rough notes according to the episode he might use them, some he used directly while writing out an early draft, others he transferred for further use, and the sake of organisation, to larger note sheets or into notebooks. This means, “much of his harvested material was transferred to the note sheets, and the rest probably went into early drafts of Ulysses[4] Those sheets and books were his standard receptacle for notes to write Ulysses. However for most parts, Joyce discarded them once he had used the records for a rough draft. This explains the fact that for the first three years of James Joyce’s work on Ulysses there are neither notes nor drafts left. Nevertheless, there exist some, because

29 note sheets for the last seven episodes were sent in 1938 by Paul Léon, acting as Joyce’s

secretary, to Harriet Shaw Weaver, and these have been preserved in the British Museum.[5]

2.2 Notebooks

To get an insight into Joyce’s work and what he recorded for Ulysses a short descriptions of the three existing notebooks contents follows, which cover a wide period of time of Joyce’s working on Ulysses and his pervious book A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and there is an other one, first thought to be part of his jotting downs for Finnegan’s Wake.

1. The Dublin/ Trieste Notebook:

This alphabetical notebook he began around Christmas 1909. It contains keywords, quotes, bits of sentences and characterising adjectives, episodes and descriptions of real persons and themes. This material, if the location in the work is possible at all, was divided equally between the fifth chapter of A Portrait and the total Ulysses.

2. The Zurich Notebook (Buffalo VIII.A.5)

Here in 1918, he gathered notes and ideas from Victor Bérard’s Les Phéniciens et l’Odyssée and W. H. Roscher’s Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie and Aristotle’s Rhetoric. This reference book must have attracted him because of exhaustive information on the properties and characteristics of all the men and gods in Homer. “This notebooks is important both as a document pertinent to the creative evolution of Ulysses and as an example of Joyce’s use of source books.”[6]

3. The Late Notes for typescripts and galleys of 1921 / 22 (Buffalo V.A.2)

It is a notebook of a more mature stage of drafting and writing, primarily to add to the diminishing reservoir of the note sheets in revising the last seven episodes, which are the lengthiest and most difficult ones, and secondarily to provide more verbal insertions for the previous six episodes.

4. The mixed notebook for Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses

This notebook contains notes, which were found among them for Finnegan’s Wake, but belong to Ulysses. Joyce must have jotted them down during working on Finnegan’s Wake. As P. Spielberg stated the resemblance between the Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses notebooks is startling (xii). Joyce wrote down not only ideas and early rough drafts of portions of Ulysses but also extended phrases and many keywords. It is a good example to follow Joyce’s way of harvesting his records, because he used to cross them out in coloured crayon, red, green, blue, to know which he had already incorporated into his text. The colours give evidence and indicate the several rounds Joyce harvested his material.

This brief overview of the notebooks leads to the next step, how those notes were used for the further process of Joyce’s writing respectively drafting.

2.3 Drafts

Concerning the term draft “Joyce referred to any substantial part of an episode as a draft“[7] Thus, he usually, after determine his strategy for an episode, gathered an impressive collection of verbal and thematic ideas from his notebooks and sheets to write a rough draft and expand the first stage of an episode. He wrote new episodes, at the same time revised previous ones and expanded his ideas of the coming ones.

For example, as Herring explains, Joyce was drafted ‘Calypso‘ and the next five episodes, but at the same time jotted down notes for later episodes such as ‘Oxen of the Sun‘ and ‘Circe‘ when he found ideas worth remembering. In general, Joyce began to copy from earlier drafts or sketches, which he had made in his notebooks and as Gabler discovered “in the transfer from one draft document to the next, the inscription pattern usually repeats itself.“[8] In addition, he became deeply involved in revising his old writing and thus started to expand the text.

Because he usually discarded the used notes or at least crossed them out, only a few fragmentary drafts survived, and “at an advanced stage, loose leaves were used instead of bound copybooks,“[9] this to the difficulty of imagine Joyce’s way of sorting out the material. That also might be an explanation why there are no early drafts left for most chapters. The drafts for episode 3 (‘Proteus‘) and episode 16 (‘Eumaeus‘), are the direct antecedents of those chapter fair copies and thus form the still existing final working drafts. Only “Episode 3, a complete chapter draft, is contained in a copybook bought in Locarno“,[10] it immediately precedes the chapter‘s fair copy as written out and completed in December and early January 1917-1918. The lost of all drafts before episode 16 implies a thoroughgoing rewriting, expansion and even re-conception of the chapter, January and February 1921, during a last stage of Ulysses.

Episode 15 (‘Circe‘) shows the process of creating and revising really well, according to counts that vary in Joyce’s letters, it progressed through six, eight or nine drafts. These stages can no longer be differentiated from the compositional documents. The same can be said about redrafs, they contains the episode each time in its later stage.

2.4 Fair Copy

The mentioned drafts are closely connected with the next step in Joyce’s writing process of fair copying. It is again not easy to distinguish between his use of the term draft and fair copies. Here the conception of fair copy as an advanced stage of writing will be used, in other words

the words he wrote were far advanced in his mind before they found shape on paper. Thus the surviving manuscript drafts were generally written straight out in a (…) premeditated fashion.[11]

That means those notebooks contained not just notes but the text in the way it should remain.


[1] Herring in Fischer-Seidel: 1977, 80-104

[2] Kenner: Jan, 1976

[3] Budgen: 1972, 176.

[4] Herring: 1977, 9.

[5] Driver: 1975 vol. 1, 15.

[6] Herring: 1977, 5.

[7] Driver: 1975 vol. 1, 16.

[8] Gabler: 1984, 1863.

[9] Ibid. 1863.

[10] Ibid. 1863.

[11] Driver: 1975 vol. 1, 15.

Excerpt out of 24 pages


Ulysses from Notes and Drafts to Editions and Revisions
University of Applied Sciences Bingen  (English Seminar)
James Joyce
2,0 (B)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
502 KB
Ulysses, Notes, Drafts, Editions, Revisions, James, Joyce
Quote paper
Anja Moeller (Author), 2002, Ulysses from Notes and Drafts to Editions and Revisions, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/9422


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Ulysses from Notes and Drafts to  Editions and Revisions

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free