About the exhibition
Which Jane Austen? presented Austen as an ambitious and risk-taking businesswoman and a wartime writer who was informed and inspired by the surprising international adventures of her family and relations.
Through a spectacular selection of Austen materials displayed together for the first time, the Bodleian Libraries delved into the myriad influences on this great writer's work.
Highlights of the exhibition:
- The Watsons, the earliest surviving manuscript of a novel by Jane Austen in the process of development
- A copy of Volume the First, a collection of short stories, mini-plays, verses and moral fragments that Austen wrote between the ages of 12 and 18.
- Sanditon, the manuscript-novel left unfinished in the final months of her life, on loan from King's College, Cambridge
- The logbook kept by Frank Austen as Post-Captain of HMS Canopus, open at his entry describing the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Nelson
- A ticket of admission to the trial of Warren Hastings, impeached in 1787 on charges of corruption
- First-edition copies of Austen novels Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Persuasion open at passages relating to war
- Evidence of her professional dealings with her famous publisher, including a royalty cheque made out to 'Miss Jane Austin', which she counter-signed with the same spelling, showing how important her writing income was to her
- The household recipe book used in Chawton Cottage by the Austen women
- Austen's writing desk and her hand-copied music books
- A wealth of family and professional letters that reveal Jane Austen in her own words
- A series of edited clips from the earliest to the most recent film and TV adaptations of the novels (presented in collaboration with the BBC)