Jane Austen‘s unfinished Bath novel sold for £993k on Saturday, July 16, 2011.
The Austen Manuscript
An amazing announcement from the Bath Chronicle and read more of their article….
An unfinished novel which Jane Austen started writing when she was living in Bath has been sold at auction for £993,000.
The handwritten parchment for The Watsons, which experts believe was only a quarter completed, has been sold by Sotheby’s to the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The Austen manuscript It had been expected to fetch £200,000, but the rare nature of the work and the fact that it is the earliest surviving manuscript by Austen, meant it went for much more. It is believed to have been started in 1804, while she was living in Bath, but is believed to have abandoned it after the death of her father the following year.
Holly Newton, from Bath’s Jane Austen Centre, said: “She started the book when she was living in Bath and there is speculation about why she didn’t finish it.
“One theory is that the storyline was too close to home, too autobiographical. Also, she wasn’t particularly settled or happy when living in Bath. There were financial problems, her father died when she was living here, so it has been suggested that she had a lull in her writing when she was here because she wasn’t settled.”
The only surviving manuscripts of Austen’s completed novels are two draft chapters of Persuasion, which are kept at the British Library, her younger work Lady Susan, which is at the Morgan Library in New York, and Sanditon, which is at King’s College, Cambridge.
Ms Newton added that she was not surprised The Watsons had sold for such a large sum of money. She said: “Original Jane Austen-related artefacts would always go for a lot of money. There has been a recent surge in popularity and there is so much interest in her life and work. ……There aren’t many artefacts from her life, so these kind of pieces give us a real insight into how she worked.”
Experts believe Emma – the headstrong and independent-minded heroine of the novel – is based on the author herself.
via (no longer online) This is Bath | Bath Jane Austen The Watsons sold auction.