Chawton House Library have published ten pages of Jane Austen’s Sir Charles Grandison, the manuscript of which is in their collection, online for us all to share.
If you go here you can access the pages , enlarge them and read them to your heart’s content.
Sir Charles Grandison was of course one of Jane Austen’s favourite books,the original being written by Samuel Richardson. The late Brian Southern in the facsimile edition of Sir Charles Grandison produced in 1980 by the Clarendon Press, thought that her version a play written for home performance-was written by her as a small skit prior to 1801.
As you can see from the manuscript pages many additions were made throughout the ensuing years. It was thought at one time that Jane Austen’s niece, Anna Austen,was the author of this play but Brian Southern’s detective work disproved this- deducing that many of the scenes were written before Anna was born,and all the additions made when she could have been no older than seven years old.
The manuscript remained in the Lefroy branch of the Austen family after Jane Austen’s death in 1817, and a facsimile copy was produced in 1980. It is now in the collection at Chawton House Library.
Ii is a typical example of Austen’s humour: Richardson’s great work- which runs to seven volumes-is reduced to a small booklet, 52 pages long…..Enjoy;)