Happy Birthday Jane Austen

Despite the fact that it was our Christmas party last night, we all seem to have survived and as I drink my morning coffee and open my web browser I note from the google logo that today is Jane Austen’s birthday. I should probably already be aware of this as although many would probably guess that my favourite book is from either the Harry Potter or Twilight series, it is in fact Pride & Prejudice. No matter how many times I read it, or how many times I watch an adaptation of it, I never tire of the story or the characters, or of Jane Austen’s fabulous wit. Austen fans will be interested to know (or possibly already know) that earlier this year a new website was launched to gather together digital copies of Jane Austen’s hand written manuscripts. The project was led by Professor Kathryn Sutherland from the English Faculty at the University of Oxford and funded by the Arts and Humanities research council. So, as well as ‘Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts Digital Edition’ being a valuable tool for those studying the author, you can now celebrate her birthday by reading Austen in her own hand and discover some of her early work such as the short stories in ‘Volume the First’, a manuscript owned by the Bodleian Library.

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