Thursday, 11 July 2013


I'm terribly bad at self - correction, especially when it comes to typos and spelling. This is why  I used Grammarly to grammar check this post.
If I am correcting and assessing my students' works or papers, I am almost impeccable, but if it is myself, my own writing  I have to check ... no way: I'm almost blind to my own mispelling. This is why I have been very happy when I discovered I shared this problem with my beloved Jane Austen!
Apparently Jane Austen was bad at spelling and grammar and got a lot of help from her editor, but the fact didn't prevent her from becoming a cult writer and one of English classic literature most beloved authors.

Kathryn Sutherland, an English professor at Oxford University, examined 1,100 handwritten pages of unpublished works by the writer of Pride and Prejudice, who died in 1817.
She says the manuscripts have plenty of "blots, crossings out, messiness," and that Austen "broke most of the rules for writing good English." 
Sutherland said letters from Austen's publisher indicate editor William Gifford was heavily involved in making sense of Austen's scribblings, helping mould the style of her late novels Emma and Persuasion.
Apparently,  Gifford was not involved in the earlier books,  Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.

"In fact, the style in these novels is much closer to Austen's manuscript hand," Sutherland adds.
Sutherland doubts her findings will blot Austen's reputation. It only serves to call into question the claim by Austen's brother Henry that "everything came finished from her pen."
"In reading the manuscripts, it quickly becomes clear that this delicate precision is missing," she notes.
In fact, Austen's unpublished works show she was "even better at writing dialogue and conversation than the edited style of her published novels suggest."
Austen's handwritten manuscripts are online  at, the result of a three-year project to digitize the author's unpublished work.
(source )


Leo Taylor said...

Thanks for the post. It is interesting to read about the process Miss Austen went through, and I agree with you on the editing. For some reason we can catch others' mistakes easier than our own. :)

mariam said...

I was dumbfounded !!! she is more amazing than I thought !! I will try to
I just cannot believe this , I always thought she had a great style when it comes to writing so I assumed her grammar would be good as well. Her 'messiness" and more shows only how deep she is evolve in her writings! The image of Jane Austen in "Becoming Jane' seemed to be quite close to her to portray

Irfan sarkar said...

Proper punctuation holds a very significant place in the English language, so much so that a holiday was founded in 2004 to honor it. Ever heard about the National Day of Punctuation? Every 24th of September, businesses, media organizations, and schools across the United States celebrate the event to remind people of the importance of using punctuation marks properly. sentence correction online