Jane Austen's Unfinished Manuscript for Sale

In July, Sotheby's of London will auction off the only handwritten Jane Austen manuscript in private hands. It's the unfinished novel The Watsons, which some say Austen might have completed if it weren't so close to her own family life.
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.

At one stage she crosses so much out that she starts a page again and pins it in. It seems, in Austen's mind, her manuscript had to look like a book. "Writers often fall into two categories," said Heaton. "The ones who fall into a moment of great inspiration and that's it and then you have others who endlessly go back and write and tinker. Austen is clearly of the latter variety. It really is a wonderful, evocative document."

The Watsons was written in 1804, not a hugely happy time for Austen professionally – she had one novel rejected and another bought by a publisher who failed to print it.

The manuscript is expected to bring between £200,000 and £300,000. Link -via Holy Kaw!

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