Who wrote the well-known Outline of Chapter Contents in the Penguin edition of Finnegans Wake?

Wikipedia describes the structure of Finnegans Wake as follows.

Finnegans Wake comprises seventeen chapters, divided into four Parts or Books. Part I contains eight chapters, Parts II and III each contain four, and Part IV consists of only one short chapter. The chapters appear without titles, and while Joyce never provided possible chapter titles as he had done for Ulysses, he did title various sections published separately (see Publication history below). The standard critical practice is to indicate part number in Roman numerals, and chapter title in Arabic, so that III.2, for example, indicates the second chapter of the third part.

The Penguin edition of Finnegans Wake includes an Outline of Chapter Contents, which is reproduced at finnegansweb. It begins


Chapter I

Introduction - The Willingdone Museum - The finding of the letter - Pre-history of Ireland - Mutt and Jute - Jarl van Hoother and the Prankquean - The Fall - Finnegan’s Wake - Introduction to HCE

Chapter II

The naming of HCE - The encounter with the cad - The spreading of the cad’s story - The Ballad of Persse O’Reilly

Chapter III

Earwicker’s version of the story filmed, televised, and broadcast - HCE’s wake - Reports of HCE’s crime and flight - Court inquiries - HCE reviled - HCE remains silent and sleeps - Finn’s resurrection foreshadowed

  • Who wrote this outline?
  • Did it appear in the first edition?
  • Did it originate with Joyce?

I am looking for an authoritative answer.

  • @Gareth Rees Can you establish definitively that it is not in the first edition? Because I will accept that. That is all I need.
    – fundagain
    Feb 7, 2019 at 17:30
  • @Gareth Rees You have established that it entered Penguin between 72 and 76. That seems to suffice that it did not originate with joyce.
    – fundagain
    Feb 7, 2019 at 17:35
  • @GarethReesThank you for the effort you put in. It has helped me.
    – fundagain
    Feb 8, 2019 at 5:43

1 Answer 1


I suspect that the ‘Outline of Chapter Contents’ was written by Seamus Deane, who edited the Joyce editions for Penguin in the early 1990s. The evidence I have for this is that the following editions all lack the ‘Outline’:

  1. This 1949 Faber & Faber edition. Note that it says “First published in mcmxx […] Reprinted in mcmxlvi, mcmxlviii and mcmxlix”. The date ‘mcmxx’ (‘1920’) must be a mistake since the book was not published until 1939. It is possible that this is a reprint of the first edition and that ‘mcmxxxix’ was intended.

  2. This 1966 Viking edition.

  3. This 1976 Penguin edition.

Whereas the 1992 Penguin Modern Classics edition, reprinted 2000, contains an introduction ‘© Seamus Deane, 1992’ and also the ‘Outline’. The ‘Outline’ is uncredited but given that the ‘Outline’ did not appear in the previous (1976) Penguin edition, it seems likely that Deane wrote it.

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