Manuscript in Jane Austen's hand

Contributed by Chawton House Library

Manuscript in Jane Austen's hand

Gillian Dow, University of Southampton and Chawton House Library writes, 'Sir Charles Grandison',a manuscript play in five acts in Jane Austen's hand. Five sections of pages of varying sizes, forming five (perhaps originally four)small booklets.In this manuscript,the five lengthy volumes of Samuel Richardson's epistolary novel Sir Charles Grandison (1753-54) become a very short five-act play. It was probably designed to be acted in private, in front of an audience who knew the source text well, and thus provides useful evidence of the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth-century vogue for private theatricals,Austen family tradition suggested that the adaptation was dictated to Austen by her niece,Jane-Anna-Elizabeth('Anna',1793-1872)the daughter of her eldest brother James (1765-1843),and a member of the most literary branch of Austen's immediate family. Like the family,scholars are united in agreeing that the handwriting is Austen's own,although the heavy corrections and crossings-out are unlike those to be found in Austen's other manuscripts.

'Sir Charles Grandison' is an important manuscript for Chawton House Library - one of the jewels of the collection.

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Location

Chawton House Library, Chawton

Culture
Period

c.1791, c1800

Theme
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