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  • We're here in the British Library, the home of several of Jane Austen's manuscripts.

  • Jane Austen is the first novelist for whom we have a substantial body of manuscript remains,

  • ranging from fair copies of teenage writings, through to manuscript drafts of experimental

  • or aborted novels and the novel she was writing in the year she died.

  • Writers not only reveal themselves in their choice of materials, they also reveal themselves in the way they use their materials.

  • The first thing you notice when you look at one of Jane Austen's draft manuscripts in these tiny booklets,

  • is how densely she filled the writing surface.

  • Right from the very start, she starts at the top, she leaves no margins on either side,

  • she leaves very little space between the lines - and she just writes forward continuously.

  • It's as though she already has a sense of what she wants to say

  • and that this is firmly in place before she begins to write.

  • If she does indeed need to go back and correct,

  • she squeezes in the corrections in the very small interlinear space.

  • You can also see from Jane Austen's manuscripts, patterns of composition and development.

  • One of the things that you see time and time again, is that when she reaches a point

  • where the characters are in conversation, her hand runs smoothly - often without a pause,

  • often without a mistake, often without a slip or correction.

  • In other passages where she's setting up a scene or introducing a new character and having to describe him with some detail -

  • before he actually becomes animated by conversation - those are the passages she struggles with.

  • But she does come through in the manuscripts as essentially and most confidently a conversational novelist.

  • She doesn't use paragraphs - or very very rarely.

  • Her favourite punctuation mark is a dash.

  • She tends to avoid what we think of as correct, grammatical punctuation

  • - so when she's not using a dash, she'll happily use a whole series of commas

  • and then eventually a full stop - usually followed by a dash.

  • This rather sits at odds with what we're told about her as a polished stylist.

  • It's also much closer to the way that we might use punctuation, especially in our e-mail culture.

We're here in the British Library, the home of several of Jane Austen's manuscripts.


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ジェーン・オースティン手稿 (Jane Austen's manuscripts)

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    April Lu に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日