Monday, 27 October 2008

More Library Finds

I thought I was spoilt with all the exciting things I was shown in the Bodleian last year, but the treasures just don't end - the other day we students on the MSt course had a session looking at twentieth-century manuscripts. And what an exciting group of items they were, and quite a motley crew too. Handwritten manuscripts by C.S. Lewis and Thomas Hardy; some original drawings by J.R.R. Tolkein; mischevious cartoons by Philip Larkin; a snooty letter by Ezra Pound; a rather overly fond letter from Ernest Hemingway to his mother-in-law... all sorts.

And today I went to a talk on Jane Austen's Volume the First, one of three notebooks in which she wrote her juvenilia - none of the manuscripts of her novels remain, so this notebook is among the small amount which still exist. I've held one of her letters before, but this was Jane Austen in authorial mode, and thus even more exciting... I did worry about myself a little when I realised I considered the notebook as somewhat sacred... *Jane Austen was just a human* *Jane Austen was just a human*...


  1. What a thrill that must have been! I went into a room in the National Portrait Gallery last Fall to come upon the very drawing of Jane Austen you have posted today. I had no idea that it was there! It was a moment that I'll never forget.

  2. Iredie'd have been utterly awe-struck if I'd seen that notebook. *Jane Austen was just a human* indeed!

  3. I am so jealous of your CS Lewis encounter. He is one of my favourite writers.

  4. Have you read "The Egyptian" by the Finnish novelist Mika Waltari ?

  5. Jane Austen was just a human? What?!


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