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The Pola Notebook [now known to be part of “The Commonplace Book”]

Bibliographical remarks: The notes given here were copied by Herbert Gorman in James Joyce (1939), and subsequently reprinted in The Workshop of Daedalus, ed. Richard Kain & Robert Scholes (Northwestern UP 1965), pp.80-105. [Notes for Stephen Hero are given on pp.83-85.] In those works they were treated as the contents of two separate notebooks, one connected with Paris and the other with Pola and hence called “The Paris Notebook” and “The Pola Notebook”. Since the acquisition of the manuscript source by the National Library of Ireland it is now known that there was only one notebook - now called the ‘Commonplace Book’.
 According to Frank O’Rourke, the whole may be regarded as ‘something of a pocket atelier, or ambulent workshop’ since, as being ‘[f]illed with a variety notes, reflections, accounts, booklists, poems and quotations, it affords precious insights into both his daily concerns and asrtistic interests during that formative period.’ (O’Rourke, “Allwisest Stagyrite”: Joyce’s Quotations from Aristotle [NLI Joyce Studies, 21], NLI 2005, p.1.)
 Gorman described the notes he copied as a selection from the original and this indeed proves to be very much the case, as comparison with the holograph purchased by the National Library in 2002 reveals. Between Gorman’s use of it and its date of purchase, the notebook was unseen by scholars, having remained among the papers of Joyce which Paul Léon rescued from his flat in Paris before being murdered by the Nazis. The previous parts of the papers which Léon had deposited with the Irish ambassador before his own arrest had not included any such notebook materials and the materialisation of the Paris-Pola notebook took the world of Joyce studies entirely by surprise. A scholarly edition of the notebook has yet to be attempted and no facsimile copy is available at the time of writing [March 2004].
 The editorial notes added to Gorman’s transcriptions by Kain and Scholes have been retained in summary-form where useful, as have the the strike-throughs in that edition reflecting Joyce’s own erasures and emendations. Aside from these differences, I have made a few changes in the format of the text consistent as being best adapted to the present medium.
 A second document exists in relation to the contents in the form of materials apparently regathered by Joyce from Stephen Hero after its abandonment in 1907 for use in A Portrait. This is held The latter is held in Cornell University Library. An account of Michael Healy’s room in it helps to fix a date for the later contents at 1909.

[Note: All the foregoing remarks are subject to revision in the light of a future inspection of the Paris-Pola notebook at the National Library of Ireland where it is held as part of NLI MS 36,639.]


Add bibl.: Luca Crispi, ‘“A Commentary on James Joyce’s National Library of Ireland “Early Commonplace Book’: 1903-1912 (MS 36,639/02/A)’, in Genetic Joyce Studies, 9 (Spring 2009) - James Joyce Genetic Studies (James Joyce Centre, Antwerp) - online.

‘[...] Since it was presumed to be lost until 2002, Herbert Gorman’s 1939 ‘definitive biography’ of Joyce was the source text for almost all the information scholars had about this manuscript.[v] Evidently Joyce had given Gorman this manuscript for use in his biography. After Gorman transcribed excerpts from it, he worked solely from that transcription. Based on its presentation in Gorman’s work, this manuscript previously had been thought to consist of two distinct copybooks (often referred to as ‘The Paris Notebook’ and ‘The Pola Notebook’). The fact that Joyce returned to this manuscript in or around 1912 only became clear in 2008. This NLI MS 36,639/02/A is just one of the spectacular new manuscripts to come to light since 2000, almost all of which are at the National Library of Ireland.[vi]


Bonum est in quod tendit appetitus.
- S. Thomas Aquinas.

The good is that towards the possession of which an appetite tends: the good is the desirable. The, true and the beautiful are the most persistent orders of the desirable. Truth is desired by the intellectual appetite which is appeased by the most satisfying relations of the intelligible; beauty is desired by the aesthetic appetite which is appeased by the most satisfying relations of the sensible. The true and the beautiful are spiritually possessed; the true by intellectin, the beautiful by apprehension, and the appetites which desire to possess them, the intellectual and aesthetic appetites, are therefore spiritual appetites. ...

J. A. J. Pola, 7 XI 04.

Pulcera[e] sunt quae visa placent.
- S. Thomas Aquinas.
Those things are beautiful the apprehension of which pleases. Therefore beauty is that quality of a sensible object in virtue of which its apprehension pleases or satisfies the aesthetic appetite which desires to apprehend the most satisfying relations of the sensible. Now the act of apprehension involves at least two activities, the activity of cognition or simple perception and the activity of consequent satisfaction recognition. (If?) the activity of simple perception is like every other activity, itself pleasant (,?) every sensible object that has been apprehended can be said in the first place to have been and to be beautiful in a measure beautiful; and even the most hideous object can be said to have been and to be beautiful in SO far as it has been apprehended. In regard then to that part of the act of apprehension which is called the activity of simple perception there is no sensible object which cannot be said to be in a measure beautiful.
 With regard to the second part of the act of apprehension which is called the activity of recognition it may further be said that there is no activity of simple perception to which there does not succeed in whatsoever measure the activity of recognition. For by the activity of recognition is meant an activity of decision; and in accordance with this activity in all conceivable cases a sensible object is said to be satisfying or dissatisfying. But the activity of recognition is, like every other activity, itself pleasant and therefore every object that has been apprehended is secondly in whatsoever measure beautiful. Consequently even the most hideous object may be said to be beautiful for this reason as it is a priori said to be beautiful in so far as it encounters the activity of simple perception.
 Sensible objects, however, are said conventionally to be beautiful or not for neither of the foregoing reasons but rather by reason of the nature, degree and duration of the satisfaction resulting from the apprehension of them and it is in accordance with these latter merely that the words “beautiful” and “ugly” are used in practical aesthetic philosophy. It remains then to be said that these words indicate only a greater or less measure of resultant satisfaction and that any sensible object, to which the word “ugly” is practically applied, an object, that is, the apprehension of which results in a small measure of aesthetic satisfaction is, in so far as its apprehension results in any measure of satisfaction whatsoever, said to be for the third time beautiful. ...

J. A. J. Pola, 15 XI 04.

The Act of Apprehension.
It has been said that the act of apprehension involves at least two activities - the activity of cognition or simple perception and the activity of recognition. The act of apprehension, however, in its most complete form involves these activities - the third being the activity of satisfaction. By reason of the fact that these three activities are all pleasant themselves every sensible object that has been apprehended must be doubly and may be trebly beautiful. In practical aesthetic philosophy the epithets “beautiful” and “ugly” are applied with regard chiefly to the third activity, with regard, that is, to the nature, degree and duration of the satisfaction resultant from the apprehension of any sensible object and therefore any sensible object to which in practical aesthetic philosophy the epithet “beautiful” is applied must be trebly beautiful, must have encountered, that is, the three activities which are involved in the act of apprehension in its most complete form. Practically then the quality of beauty in itself must involve three constituents to encounter each of these three activities. ...

J. A. J. Pola, 16 XI 04.

Fragmentary Notes

Group 1
Greek culture (Iliad) Barbarian (Bible)

Spiritual and temporal power
Priests and police in Ireland

Catacombs and vermin
La Suggestions Letteraria.

Ireland - an afterthought of Europe

Beauty is so difficult [Yeats quoting Beardsley, in called“The Tragic Generation.” (The Trembling of the Veil, 1922); perhaps heard from Yeats himself.]

I once saw a bleeding Christ [Yeats quoting Beardsley]

Old Murray and Dante

“Miss Esposito, I never see a rose but I think of you.” [Padraic Colum’s remark to Vera Esposito, Abbey actress.]

“I got the highest marks in mathematics of any man that ever went in.”

“Ah, Paris? What’s Paris? The theatres, the cafés, les petites femmes des boulevards.”
Ladies’ bonnets. High mass at the Pro-Cathedral.

Signs of Zodiac. Earth a living being.

“The English have their music-hall songs but we have the melodies.”
Moments of spiritual life

“That queer thing - genius.” [Æ of Colum (190/192 ). No doubt he did in life also, annoying Joyce, who referred to Colum (who worked for the Post Office) as “The Messenger-boy genius.”]

“Synge’s play is Greek,” said Yeats, etc. [of Riders to the Sea]

”With all his eccentricities he remains a dear fellow.” [Poss. George Moore of Edward Martyn via Yeats.]

Dr. Doherty and the Holy City [Doherty is Gogarty]

Group 2
Strangers are contemporary posterity - Chamfort [Vide Maximes et Pensées sur l’homme et la société, XLVII]

The artillery of heaven [Milton’s metaphor for thunder.]

Mrs. Riordan and the breadcrumbs

Spittin’ and spattin’ on the floor

Consum[m]atum est

Dog an’ divil

Make death a capital offence in England; end of modern English plays; Fr. Delaney

“Yisterday” F. Butt Moloney (Clery)

Kinahan and Boccaccio [model for Moynihan in SH; tells Stephen that “the Decameron took the biscuit for “smut”’]

Kinahan Enc. Britt. “Socialism”

The ice-cream Italian - Rossetti [Vide Stanislaus Joyce, Dublin Diary, p.26].

The marsupials

Art has the gift of tongues

“Special reporter” novels

“on our side every time”

centripetal writing

every bond is a bond to sorrow [Vide “A Painful Case”; poss. said by Stanislaus]

With men women do not think independantly. [orth. sic Gorman]

What is the ambition of the hero’s valet? [Vide Stanislaus Joyce, Dublin Diary, p.21]

Love - and intimate, desirous dependance. [orth. sic Gorman]

Church calls it a low vice to serve the body, to make a God of the belly, and a high virtue to make a temple of it.

The egoist revenges himself on his loves for the restrictions his higher morality lays upon him.

Unlike Saul, the son of Kish, Tolstoy seems to have come out to find a kingdom and to have found his father’s asses. [Vide Stanislaus Joyce, Dublin Diary, p.102]

Coyne: Beauty is a white light Joyce: Made up of seven colours.

Coyne and religious landscape

“The blanket with the hole in the middle was not the dress of the ancient Irish but was introduced by the indecent Saxon.”

Shakespeare, Sophocles and Ibsen [George Moore’s reaction to a performance of A Doll’s House.]

Walshe didn’t know how anyone could know more about Ibsen than F. Butt did.

Starkey thinks Ibsen’s mind a chaos. “Hedda should get a kick in the arse.” [James S. Starkey, aka Seumas O’Sullivan.]

I am unhappy all day - the cause is I have been walking on my heels and not from the ball of my foot. [Vide Dublin Diary, p.34.]

The music hall, not Poetry, a criticism of life. [Cf. Matthew Arnold; Dublin Diary, p.38.]

The vulgarian priest [See Dublin Diary, pp.97, 99.]

Group 3
Features of the Middle Age: a pale, square, large-boned face, an aquiline nose with wide nostrils rather low in his face, a tight-shut lifeless mouth, full of prejudice, brown eyes set wide apart under short thick eyebrows and a long narrow forehead with short coarse black hair brushed up off it resting on his temples like an iron crown. [On J. F. Byrne - model for Cranly; extracted from Stanislaus’ Dublin Diary; as ditto he following.]

The Grand Byrne Wicklow

Brutal “bloody” “flamin”

Thomas Squaretoes

Talking like a pint

Deprecate eke so

Did that bloody boat the Seaqueen ever start?

Immoral plebeian

His Intensity the Sea-green Incorruptible

to make me drink

Stannie takes off his hat

Group 4 [Notes for “Dubliners”]
High instep

Foretelling rain by pain of corns

“the world will not willingly let die” [Milton’s hopes for his career as a poet; cf. Gabriel Conroy’s speech in “The Dead.”]

“which, if anything that the hand of man has wrought of noble and inspiring and beautiful deserves to live deserves to live” [Speech of Seymour Bushe at the Childs murder case, 1899; vide Ulysses, “Aoelus”.]

“that way madness lies” [King Lear, III, iv.]

The United States of Europe

Sick and indigent roomkeepers [Vide first first draft of “Gas from a Burner” - referring to prostitutes (James Joyce Miscellany, III (Carbondale, 1962), p.12; origin. the society on Castle St., Dublin.]

Logue: a handsome face in repose

Lightning: a livid woundlike flash

God plays skittles: thunder

Tips: palm-oil [Cf. Mr. Kernan in Ulysses]

To scoff - to devour

Medieval artist - lice in a friar’s beard

The cold flesh of priests

A woman is a fruit

Paris - a lamp for lovers hung in the wood of the world

To take the part of England and her tradition against Irish-America

Mac - Be Jaze, that put the kybosh on me.

Group 5
                                                    S. D.
Six medical students under my direction will write Paradise Lost except 100 lines.

The editor of the Evening Telegraph will write the Sensitive Plant.

Hellenism - European appendicitis.

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