Sponsored by The Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
Saturday Feb 18, 12:00-1:30pm Eastern Time
In this talk for the series “The Research Group Speaks,” Barbara Heritage will consider the material evidence of Charlotte Brontë’s fair-copy manuscript for “Shirley” (1849). Barbara Heritage is Associate Director and Curator of Collections for Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.
On 8 September 1849, James Taylor traveled from London to Haworth, Yorkshire, to collect the manuscript of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Shirley, for publication. His firm, Smith, Elder and Co., had been anxiously awaiting the completion of the book for nearly a year. Readers both in England and abroad were eager to read the next work by “Currer Bell”, whose first published novel, Jane Eyre (1847), had proved surprisingly popular.
The manuscript, which now resides in the British Library (Add MS 43479), includes numerous excisions to its 896 leaves. Its three volumes have been characterized by some as a confused “text of grief” written during the loss of Brontë’s siblings — and by another as proof of self-censorship and even “symptoms of a writing disorder or disease.” A close codicological study of the manuscript offers an alternative reading by drawing on the correlation of paper stocks and varying pagination, providing new material-based evidence for how Brontë strategically and deliberately revised — and even expanded — her manuscript after serving as the primary caregiver for her siblings.
This event is open to the public. Register on EventBrite here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-research-group-speaks-10-barbara-heritage-charlotte-brontes-shirley-tickets-462481192697?aff=odcleoeventsincollection
See also the page for this event on the website of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence: https://manuscriptevidence.org/wpme/barbara-heritage-on-stages-of-composition-in-charlotte-brontes-fair-copy-of-shirley/