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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

An unexpected treat!

I was in Oxford at the weekend, and wandered into the Bodleian library as they always have interesting exhibitions on. By sheer good fortune, there was a one-day Jane Austen Exhibition. The exhibition was to help launch the Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts Digital Edition. On show was the manuscript of her short stories and plays (Volume the First) written when Jane was a teenager, and Cassandra’s fair copy of ‘Sanditon’. There was also a set of Austen first editions owned by her brother Edward Knight. I was absolutely thrilled to see them - especially ‘Volume the First’ – somehow seeing Jane’s handwriting close up makes one feel closer to the author.

© Author’s photos of Jane Austen’s ‘Volume the First’ on display at the Bodleian, and the title page of Edward Knight’s copy of ‘Sense and Sensibility, also on display.


Southerner said...

Thanks for this, Sue.


Sue Wilkes said...

Hi Tony!
Just read and enjoyed Vic's blog post on JA's writing

I agree with Vic -it is hardly 'news' that JA's spelling was sometimes 'wobbly' like Winnie-the-Pooh's, but the English language was (and still is) in a state of flux.

Southerner said...

Yes, Sue you are right. The English langauge is always developing and changing. On the morning of the announcement by Professor Sutherland of, Oxford University, she was interviewed on The Today programme. She made the point that by looking through these 1,100 handwritten documents she came to the conclusion that Jane was a more innovative writer and more experimental than had been thought before. Professor Sutherland said that, that level of experimentation was not seen again until Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

I read Sanditon, a relatively unedited piece, and wrote a review, about a year a go now. You can see what she means.

All the best,