Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jane Austen's Fiction Manuscripts

Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts is the result of a three-year joint project by the University of Oxford and King’s College London and funded by the AHRC. The project brings together, for the first time since 1845, all known surviving fiction manuscripts handwritten by Austen. Originally held in a single collection by her sister Cassandra, the collection was subsequently dispersed to family members, public institutions and private collections. The manuscripts range from early writings by an 11 or 12 year old Austen to manuscripts from the year of her death in 1817. The project contains not only the digitized manuscripts but also full transcription, commentary on provenance and other aspects of the work and description of their physical condition. The site also allows for systematic comparison between manuscripts. While no complete holograph manuscripts of her famous six novels are known to exist, the materials contained in this collection offer insight into her writing practices over an even broader time span than the years in which her novels were published.

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