Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Jane or Joanne?...

It seems unoriginal to begin another awed tribute to the Hary Potter phenomenon, whose last installment has taken £104 million in its opening weekend in the US and Canada. Instead, across the Atlantic, another famous female British writer was proving that endurance of time is the real test.

Almost 194 years after her death, a rare Jane Austen manuscript has sold for £993, 250. 'The Watsons', an unfinished novel complete with revisions and crossings out, was originally owned privately, yet is now in the hands of the Bodleian Library, who beat off competition from New York's Morgan Library. Having secured money from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Bodleian say that they are 'delighted' to have bought 'such a valuable part of our literary heritage'.

Austen may be worth 105 times less than Potter today, but until Rowling influences 200 years' worth of readers, she won't hold the same place in literary hearts as the beloved Jane.

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