Book News: Fragment Of Jane Austen’s Handwriting Found

by Annalisa Quinn, February 04, 2014

Jane Austen, pen & ink, artist unknown.

Jane Austen, pen & ink, based on a sketch by Cassandra Austen; artist unknown.

A small but rare sample of Jane Austen’s handwriting has been found tucked into another book at the Jane Austen’s House Museum. The scrap reads, “Men may get into a habit of repeating the words of our Prayers by rote, perhaps without thoroughly understanding — certainly without thoroughly feeling their full force & meaning.” It is thought to be a passage from one of her brother’s sermons, rather than her own composition, though the museum’s curator, Mary Guyatt, told The Guardian, “What especially intrigued us about this fragment is its apparent date, 1814, and the evidence that offers of the cross-currents between Austen’s family life and her literary reflections on prayer in Chapter 34 of Mansfield Park, published the same year.” Writing on the back of the scrap of paper is less legible, but scholars plan to use humidity to try to clean the paper and decipher it.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/04/271383260/book-news-fragment-of-jane-austens-handwriting-found?ft=1&f=103943429&utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprnews&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=twitter

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