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Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts Digital Edition

Jane Austen's Fiction Manuscripts has recently made available digital editions of Austen's Juvenilia as well as working drafts of The Watsons, Lady Susan, Sanditon and Persuasion. Approximately 1100 pages of fiction, as handwritten by Jane, appear online at http://www.janeausten.ac.uk/index.html along with notes that provide rich details concerning the manuscripts' history and physical status.

An image of the original manuscript on the right hand side of the screen and on the left, the transcription, including all of the author's changes, corrections and cross-outs provides an illuminating view into Austen's thought process as she developed and revised her work. When reading her works in this manner, page by handwritten page, one cannot help but feel privy to an aspect of her creative process, and this is nothing short of magical.

This site is beautifully done and is an extraordinary storehouse of editorial information and technical data concerning the assembly of the editions, albeit virtually, from the originals found in libraries and private collections the world over. As an added bonus, readers and researchers may also use the tools of this site to comb the body of any given manuscript for word usage and the occurrence of phrases.

This endeavor is a three-year Arts & Humanities Research Council - funded joint research project with Oxford University and King's College.


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