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Sunday, 13 September 2009

Lost Literary Gems

I had no end of problems with Microsoft Word crashing last week, so I hope it is better behaved this week. One might think that writers such as Jane Austen and Lord Byron would have found it much easier to preserve their work, as they wrote on good old pen and paper. But of course once they were gone, their work was at the mercy of their relatives. Cassandra Austen’s ruthless bonfire of her sister’s letters is notorious; we have virtually none of Jane’s letters left in which she really bares her soul. Lord Byron’s memoirs were burnt by his friends after his tragically early death at Missolonghi in Greece. I have always thought this was a bizarre decision considering that his alleged misdeeds were public knowledge anyway. My latest feature for the The New Writer looks at other lost literary gems, and discusses the importance of always keeping a copy of your work.

Image: Lord George Gordon Byron. Engraving from Beeton’s Dictionary of Universal Biography, (Ward, Lock & Son, 1870.)

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