Unpublished Austen

At the time of her death in 1817, Jane Austen left behind a wealth of unpublished material in manuscript. Some was published by her family the year after her death (the novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion), some was burned by her sister Cassandra, and some was simply left unpublished for over a century. From sassy satires to tongue-in-cheek histories to poems, prayers, and plays, what Austen *didn’t* publish is as rich — if not richer — than what entered the world of print.

In this class we will read and discuss the works that Austen’s family didn’t let see print, and examine how editors have taken on the task of making these works available to various reading publics. We will also dip into the unpublished work of famous and unknown authors, some of which have never seen print, in order to contextualize the Austen family’s decisions.

Students will have a choice of three final projects: 1. a traditional research paper with archival investigation; 2. creating a new edition of one or more of these texts for either print or digital use; or 3. a creative continuation or adaptation of one of these manuscript works.