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The Bodleian Library has recently released a new free application for iPads and android phones etc. Treasures of the Bodleian is a fabulous application and it will take me many hours to explore all of it, as it highlights the treasures to be found in the University of Oxford’s library ‘s collection:

It contains access to many, many wonderful treasures, not the least being Jane Austen’s manuscripts of  Volume the First, which contains some of her juvenilia:

and The Watsons, which along with the Cancelled Chapters of Persuasion, are her only surviving adult manuscripts, albeit this is unfinished.

There is also a wonderful five-minute long podcast type lecture by Professor Kathryn Sutherland, Professor of Bibliography and Textural Criticism at the University of Oxford, wherein she talks about the history, significance and literary importance of the manuscript of The Watsons to us, and indeed, how this manuscript is really Jane Austen’s literary DNA:

Amongst other fascinating points, she details Jane Austen’s manner of working which is fascinating and is revealed by these precious few pages. And all this is free, I write, wonderingly. I could listen to Professor Sutherland’s intelligent and sympathetic lecture on Jane Austen for hours on end. As I say, ALL THIS IS FREE…

The application accompanies a physical exhibition of the treasures which is also free and which closes on the 23rd December 2011. Go here to see the website for the exhibition, You can also down load pdf of a guide to  the exhibit here. And you can also take part in a very interesting debate on what constitutes a “treasure” and vote for one item that is not normally on show, to  be “The People’s Choice” and  be part of the Library’s new Weston Library opening exhibit, when it opens in 2015.

If you can, please do download this wonderful application. AND IT IS FREE!!!

Will Gompertz of BBC News has just filed  this report on the BBC News website. Click here to read all about it.

The Oxford Library was assisted in its purchase by monies from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Frankly, I’m so very glad it is staying in this country.

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