Later Manuscripts: (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen)
Cambridge University Press, $199 hb, 872 pp
The prospect of discovering another work by a favourite author is always a pleasing one, even if the reality, when it is actually encountered, is sometimes disappointing. With a writer like Jane Austen, with only six published novels, who would not wish for some further delights to be unveiled? When Austen died, her sister, Cassandra, was left with the unpublished manuscripts of a number of juvenile writings and later works. After Cassandra’s death, members of her family had them in their hands (or perhaps one should say ‘on their hands’, given their subsequent feeling that the possession entailed a level of somewhat burdensome responsibility).