My BB column this week revisits the Jane Austen exhibit at the Morgan which I enjoyed so much last week (and yes, the William Blake exhibit is still on for a few more weeks). It’s such a delight to see Jane’s own handwriting and little pieces of her life gathered together for this exhibit, which offers a good sense of the Regency period in which she lived:
Through March of next year, the Morgan Library & Museum in NYC features an excellent exhibit, “A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy” which contains her handwritten script of Lady Susan as well as many letters, mostly written to her beloved sister Cassandra, and other personal effects.
While it seems impossible that we don’t know everything there is to know about Jane (which isn’t as much as most fans would like), it’s a revelation to see so much written in her own hand.
Sure, there’s the fannish squee of being so close to something Jane herself touched (then again, I’m a medievalist who shed a tear upon seeing for the first time the one and only Beowulf manuscript), but it’s also an intimate window on the world in which she lived: one where paper was so precious that she used up every bit of surface area in her letters by writing across her own lines with further perpendicular lines (known as “cross-hatching”)...
As usual, you can read the rest at BB HQ. Please help spread the news be retweeting, sharing and linking here!