Jane Austen Manuscript Sells for $1.6 Million

According to BBC News, a rare Jane Austen manuscript sold for £993,250 ($1.6 Million). Sotheby’s Auction House sold the unfinished piece. As the experts thought the work would fetch some where around £300,000, the bid surprised everyone.

The manuscript, originally owned privately, was purchased by the Bodleian Libraries of Oxford.
It is thought Austen wrote the tale, about a young woman who returns home to her father’s household after being brought up by a wealthy aunt, in 1804. Richard Ovenden, from Bodleian Libraries, said they were “delighted” to have secured “such a valuable part of our literary heritage.We are glad it will stay now in Britain,” he added, saying the “priceless manuscript” would be made available to the general public as early as this autumn.

Much of the money came from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), through a £894,700 grant.
“This was an unprecedented opportunity to acquire the only surviving original draft of a novel by one of our greatest and most popular writers,” said Carole Souter of the NHMF.Other organisations who donated included the Friends of the National Libraries, the Friends of the Bodleian and the Jane Austen Memorial Trust.

Sotheby’s specialist Gabriel Heaton said the work was “particularly informative” because it is “very much a working draft.” Every page is littered with crossings out, revisions and additional text between some of the lines.

Everyone thought that the Morgan Library in New York, which already owns an eight-page element of the manuscript, might take the manuscript out of the country.

Jane Austen published six complete novels during her lifetime, including Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility, before dying in 1817 at the age of 41.

With the exception of The Watsons, two draft chapters of Persuasion and two other works named Lady Susan and Sanditon, few of her draft works have survived.

The Bodleian Library already holds her Volume the First, a manuscript of Austen’s juvenilia (early writings).

I owe much of my writing career to Jane Austen, as do several of my associates at AustenAuthors.net. Without her model, I would not be an author. THANK YOU, JANE AUSTEN, FOR YOUR INSPIRATION. It does my heart good to see your work is still appreciated after 200+ years.


About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
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