Pens & Pins—Or How Did Jane Austen Revise A Manuscript?

JAAndrea/Cara here, A number of the Wenches are facing looming deadlines, and among ourselves we’ve been bemoaning the dreaded terror know as “final edits” before shipping a manuscript of to an editor. The process is a lot easier these days—I remember working on my first book with a stack of yellow Post-It notes close at hand . . .and muttering frequent incantations to the cosmos for the stickies to stay put!

So it was with great interest—and delight—that I spotted a fascinating post on the Jane Austen Center website about Jane and the joint project between Oxford and King’s College to create a digital database of all the existing Austen manuscripts, from her early juvenile works to the last year of her life.

“With no calculated blank spaces and no obvious way of incorporating large revision or expansion she had to find other strategies — small pieces of paper, each of which was filled closely and neatly with the new material, attached with straight pins to the precise spot where erased material was to be covered or where an insertion was required to expand the text . . .”

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