Interesting article here from the Chronicle of Higher Ed…Kathryn Sutherland, from Oxford, says that it was Jane Austen’s editor who actually polished the “rough prose” of one of our favorite authors. Apparently this chap, William Gifford, also edited Byron’s work, so perhaps it’s just another instance of everyone needed to be edited. Sutherland has been working on the Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts Digital Collection, which went live today–well worth a look, even if your not a lit specialist!!
Sutherland finds the questions this project raises about Austen’s “authorial voice” especially interesting:
Still more interesting to her, however, is the authorial voice one hears in the manuscripts. She calls it “a more innovative, more experimental voice” than Austen gets credit for. “By not working with the grammatical form, she’s actually coming much closer to writing real conversation” than in the printed versions where “she’s pulled back into a more conventional form,” the scholar said. “It’s a voice you’re perhaps not hearing again until the early 20th century.”
..Buried in medieval documents as I am (I discovered this while on my way to the job pages, go figure), I’m more curious than interested at this point, but I will be browsing this fascinating project, without doubt….