17 August 2011

The Watsons

Jane Austen's original manuscript of the unfinished novel The Watsons has sold for over £990,000 although it was valued for no more than £300,000. The Bodleian Library in Oxford has purchased this rare item, the only surviving original manuscript of any of Jane Austen's novels. The manuscript descended from Jane Austen’s sister Cassandra to her niece Caroline Mary Craven Austen (1805-1880), the younger daughter of their eldest brother James. It was in Caroline’s possession when first published in 1871 by her brother James Edward Austen-Leigh. The draft of this unfinished novel is not complete. The Morgan Library in New York owns 12 pages of the manuscript. A few of its pages were lost by The University of London. The manuscript is remarkable in that it is a working draft, with crossings out, ink splotches, and many changes inserted into the lines and spacings.

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