London: A tiny unpublished Charlotte Bronte’s manuscript written when he was a teenager was sold at an auction at Sotheby’s for 690,850 pounds.
The manuscript by the English novelist and poet was sold off for more than twice the pre-sale estimate, and the sum represents a record for a work by the author, best known for her 1847 novel ‘Jane Eyre’.
Written when Bronte was 14, and dated 1830, ‘The Young Men’s Magazine, Number 2’ measures only 35 x 61mm, the Telegraph reported.
However, its interest to scholars – who, following the manuscript’s purchase by La Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits in Paris, will be able to study the work – is not proportionate to its size.
Contained within the Magazine’s 19 pages is a vivid tale of murder and madness entitled ‘A Letter from Lord Charles Wellesley’, which includes an episode prefiguring one of the most famous scenes in fiction: when Jane Eyre’s Bertha – the so-called “madwoman in the attic” – sets fire to her husband Rochester’s bed.
Supposedly written by the son of the Duke of Wellington, ‘A Letter…’ draws on the imaginary world of ‘Glass Town’, the fictional community created by the Bronte siblings during their isolated childhood at Haworth Parsonage in Yorkshire.
Dr Philip Errington, a director and Senior Specialist at Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department, hailed the Magazine as an “important” and “remarkable piece of work – tiny, precise and redolent of the fantasy world the Bronte siblings inhabited”.
The manuscript will go on show in Paris in January.