Jane Austen manuscript up for auction

LONDON, May 21 (UPI) -- An extremely rare manuscript of an unfinished novel in Jane Austen's hand is going up for auction in London.

The pages, neatly written with many revisions, are from "The Watsons," which she never completed. It was written in 1804, when Austen (1775-1817) had seen one novel rejected and another bought by a publisher who failed to print it.


Her first published novel, "Sense and Sensibility," did not appear until 1811.

Gabriel Heaton, senior specialist in books and manuscripts at Sotheby's, where the treasure will go on the block July 14, told The Guardian: "It is very exciting. This is the most significant Austen material to come on the market since the late 1980s."

There are no surviving original manuscripts of Austen's published novels.

The manuscript has 68 pages -- hand-trimmed by Austen -- split into 11 booklets.

The first 12 pages were sold by an Austen descendant during World War I to raise funds for the Red Cross and are now in New York's Pierpont Morgan Library.

The manuscript was sold in the 1970s by Austen descendants to the British Rail Pension Fund, which sold it to the present owner in 1988. It has been valued at $325,000 to $490,000.


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