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Burgess provided the following explanation of the book's title: "Any reader of Finnegans Wake will see that it is a fusion of Joycesprach, joystick, the prick that brings joy and the prick of conscience or agenbite of inwit."
Burgess reveals in his autobiography (You've Had Your Time p. 243) that the Joysprick manuscript was stolen while he was living in Rome, and he had to write it out again from memory. "It was probably better the second time," he wrote.