A miniature 15-page Brontë manuscript, smaller than a playing card, dated December 1829, has sold in New York, offered at the fair by ILAB / ABAA bookseller James Cummins.
The manuscript was written by novelist Charlotte Brontë when she was 13 and will be returned to her home, the Brontë Parsonage in Yorkshire in the United Kingdom after being bought for $1.25 million by a literary charity, Friends of the National Libraries (FNL), after surfacing for the first time in more than a century.
It contains 10 poems and was the last of more than two dozen of the famous "little books" known to be in private hands.
“If you could see how small it is, you would wonder that it survived at all,” said Henry Wessels of James Cummins Booksellers. “When I first saw it, and had it in my hands, it was like, this could easily have been just chucked out in the trash anytime in the last one hundred years, and it has survived. .. “In the manuscript, you can see that she’s writing them and sometimes revising, crossing out and changing wording,” he says. “It will be a new set of poems to read, and it will be up to the readers to decide what they make” of them."
Geordie Greig, the chair of FNL, spoke to the UK Guardian: “Saving Charlotte Brontë’s little book is a giant gain for Britain,” he said. “To return this literary treasure to the Brontë Parsonage where it was written is important for scholars and also students studying one of our greatest women writers.”
Some further reading: