Jane Austen's Fiction Manuscripts

ISBN : 9780199680917

Kathryn Sutherland
2464 Pages
Multiple Copy Pack
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Apr 2018


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  • An authoritative edition of Austen's legacy in manuscript
  • Will appeal to anyone interested in textual studies and the relationship between print and non-print media
  • Offers a new perspective on a much-loved and familiar literary great
  • Presents facing-page facsimile images and a full commentary on the manuscripts
  • Will transform the field of Austen studies

Kathryn Sutherland presents an edition of the fiction manuscripts of Jane Austen (1775-1817). Scholars have pored over this much-loved novelist for decades, yet there are still more riches to be uncovered by the careful presentation of the texts in this fully annotated new edition. Jane Austen's fiction manuscripts are the first substantial collection of autograph writings to survive for a British novelist. They represent every stage of her writing life, from childhood-aged 11 or 12-to the year of her death. The manuscripts represent a wide variety of physical states: working drafts, fair copies, and handwritten publications for private circulation. Where the juvenile, handwritten notebooks have long appeared to scholars to be finished artefacts, most of the other manuscript writings consist of pre-print or working drafts in various stages of development. There is no evidence to indicate that Austen saw the bulk of these working drafts as anything other than provisional. Hence the stark situation that no manuscripts remain for works which saw publication in her lifetime, the assumption being that these were routinely destroyed once replaced by print forms. There is only one exception: the two cancelled chapters of Persuasion, which represent an alternative ending to the one that made it into print. The manuscript evidence therefore represents a different Jane Austen: different in the range of fiction they contain from the novels we know only from print; and different in what they reveal about the workings of her imagination. Because of the variety of their pre-print states, because of their experimental range, and because of the way they extend the time span of her writing life (far longer than the single decade of the printed novels), these manuscript writings can claim a special place in our understanding of the evolution of the famous fictions. The edition presents full transcriptions of the texts based on a fresh examination of all the extant witnesses in Austen's hand, with facing facsimile images of the manuscript pages, and commentary on revisions, over-writings, erasures, and other features of the manuscripts.
Volume I contains the Introduction; details about the Editorial Procedure; essays on Evidence from Manuscripts as Objects, Composition and Revision, and Features of the Manuscript Hand; and the facsimile and facing-page transcription of Volume the First.

Volume II contains the facsimile and facing-page transcription of Volume the Second.
Volume III contains the facsimiles and facing-page transcriptions of Volume the Third and Lady Susan.

Volume IV contains the facsimiles and facing-page transcriptions of The WatsonsPersuasionSusanOpinions of Mansfield Park and Opinions of EmmaPlan of a Novel, and Profits of my Novels.

Volume V contains the facsimile and facing-page transcription of Sanditon, and the appendices to the edition.


Volume 1
Editorial Procedure
3 Essays: Evidence from Manuscripts as Objects; Composition and Revision; Features of the Manuscript Hand
Volume the First
Volume 2

Volume the Second
Volume 3

Volume the Third
Lady Susan
Volume 4

The Watsons
Plan of a Novel
Volume 5


About the author: 

Edited by Kathryn Sutherland, St Anne's College, Oxford
Kathryn Sutherland is Professor of Bibliography and Textual Criticism at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Jane Austen's Textual Lives: From Aeschylus to Bollywood(OUP, 2005).

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