Sunday, May 22, 2011
Rare Jane Austen manuscript to go on sale
This really is a must read article from the Manchester Guardian's on-line site. It not only talks about the sale of a partial manuscript of Austen's work, The Watsons, but the road it traveled to get there.
An incredibly rare handwritten manuscript of an unfinished novel by Jane Austen – the only one that is still in private hands – is to appear at auction in London... The Watsons manuscript shows how Austen's other manuscripts must have looked. It also shines an interesting light on how she worked. Austen took a piece of paper, cut it in two and then folded over each half to make eight-page booklets. Then she would write, small neat handwriting leaving little room for corrections – of which there are many. "You can really see the mind at work with all the corrections and revisions," said Heaton.
The Watsons is a fragment, and it became even more fragmented upon leaving the author's hands. It is a glimpse into what can happen to even a highly-valued manuscript by those who know how to care for such things. I shall say no more. Very, very interesting.