Austen Letters Exhibition at the Morgan Library


There’s lots of good stuff around about the new exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York City, A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy, which opened last week, and we’ll have all of it eventually, but particularly wanted to share this short film produced by the Morgan as an enticement.

We’re guessing they’re not going to let us plebes handle the merchandise quite so freely. 😉 (GLOVES! WHY ISN’T SHE WEARING GLOVES! AAAAAAAARGH!) And doesn’t the Lady Susan manuscript make a lovely little stack? The size of the pages reminds us of our facsimile ms. copy of The History of England. *squeeeee*

The exhibition runs through March 14, 2010, so you still have time to make plans to see it. We are looking forward to seeing it at some point! Maybe more than once!

16 thoughts on “Austen Letters Exhibition at the Morgan Library

  1. Lauren H.

    I’m making a special trip to New York in December just to see it! I’m so excited! I’ve been to the Morgan before, and it’s also an amazing place for book lovers of any kind, as the library is AMAZING! I felt like it could have been in Pemberley 🙂


  2. Clara

    Thanks for posting the links! It is standard practice in manuscript libraries these days to not require gloves as conservation staff generally find that gloves make people more clumsy when handling paper. Clean hands are the best way to go when handling manuscripts in good condition.


  3. Dianna

    It’s worth mentioning that the Morgan Library is free Friday evenings from 7 PM until 9 PM – though their admission is well worth it. Aside from the Austen exhibit (and for at least part of the time, a concurrent William Blake exhibit) they’ve an excellent collection of medieval manuscripts and other rare books (as one of my library school professors put it, in the 19th century, books were bling). And, Mr. Morgan’s personal library is worth a visit too.


  4. Esmah

    I can’t wait to see it! I’m so excited about it. Thanks for the links and thank you Dianna for the info about the free hours! 🙂


  5. Rebecca

    I just went to see the exhibit today! I LOVED it. Being the person that I am, I took notes all over my map so I’d remember what I saw — and as small as a room that it was, I sure saw a lot. If you can make it to NYC, you should definitely check it out!


  6. My husband worked for years in a rare library collection and while some old books are handled with gloves because of their pages being brittle, others are directly handled because oils on our hands actually preserve the pages (keeps them from getting brittle in the first place). The first time I saw a librarian flipping through a 300 hundred year old Shakespeare volume I had the same question. Just wanted to assure you that they’re not injuring Jane’s precious papers. I can’t wait to see Lady Susan!


  7. Sandra_in_the_US

    The brittleness of the paper is more a function of its composition than its age. Cotton-linen rag ages beautifully. Wood-pulp, with its high acid content, not so much. Or at all, really.


  8. Allison T.

    Outstanding film! I really enjoyed the 6 JA-lovers’ comments and found them very insightful. Well done, very well done indeed.


  9. Jen K

    Thank you all you paper-knowing people!! I nearly tore the bench apart while watching that woman paw her way through Lady Susan. Loved the hug idea 🙂


  10. di12381

    I loved it, its amazing how tiny her handwriting was and how she could write with just ink and paper. I will be going back.


  11. Nuria

    Thank you for the links, Mag.

    Thank you for all the info about the paper and how to handle it… I was about to have a heart attack!

    Btw, I loved the comment of Fran Lewobitz at the end… I won’t say, in case someone hasn’t seen it yet.

    Never is too late to move to NYC, what is an ocean nowadays?


  12. I enjoyed the movie, and the exhibit. Such amazing handwriting! And, why no transcriptions?

    But I can’t help wondering how Jane Austen would have reacted, if Cornel West actually did give her a hug. I don’t think the hug was big in 1817.


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