A handwritten letter from Jane Austen to her niece Anna Austen is expected to achieve £80,000-100,000 ($103,776-129,720) in Sotheby’s upcoming English Literature sale.
The letter dates to October 1812, just before the publication of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.
Austen writes the letter in the third person
Intriguingly, it’s written as a parody of fellow novelist Rachel Hunter.
Hunter was the author of a turgid, eight-volume melodrama titled Lady Maclairn the Victim of Villany which both Jane and Anna had read.
They each very much enjoyed its cliche ridden plots, hackneyed characters and the heroine’s propensity to burst into tears at any moment.
In this letter Jane writes in the third person and as though she has been to some of the locations in Lady Maclairn.
She relates her own experiences of life at Tarefield Hall (where the novel is set).
She also thanks Anna (who had recently sent her some needlework based on scenes from the novel) for the “spirited sketches… of those more interesting spots Tarefield Hall, the Mill & above all the Tomb of Howard's wife – of the faithful representation of which Miss Jane Austen is undoubtedly a good Judge, having spent so many summers at Tarefield Abbey”.
She reassures her niece that she had spent some time crying over them.
As one of the most famous writers in the English language (with a massive worldwide following), pieces associated with Jane Austen are in high demand.
In 2011, the original manuscript for her unpublished novel The Watsons sold for £993,250 ($1.2m).
A page of notes on poetry by the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong is also appearing in the July 11 sale.
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