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A miniature manuscript written by Charlotte Brontë that retails for $1.25 million

contributors Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

An unpublished miniature manuscript written by Charlotte Brontë when she was 13 will go up for sale later this month at a book fair in New York City for $1.25 million.

Entitled ‘A Book of Ryhmes by Charlotte Brontë, Sold by Nobody, and Printed by Herself’, the work is smaller than a playing card – yet it contains a literary treasure of 10 poems by the ‘Jane Eyre’ author.

According to Henry Wessells, an associate of James Cummins Bookseller, the December 1829 manuscript has not been seen publicly since it was sold in New York in 1916. It was recently found in a private collection, he said.

The 15 pages, sewn together in their original brown paper covers, tell stories about the “elaborate imaginary world” of Brontë and her siblings, according to a dealer press release.

“They wrote adventure stories, drama, and verse in handmade manuscript books filled with tiny handwriting intended to resemble printing,” the publication reads.

Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte Credit: Reuters

Cummins and Maggs Bros. are the two dealers selling the work at the April 21 New York International Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory.

“The manuscript was last in the public eye in 1916, and we all love the story of an unexpected survival,” Wessells said in an email to CNN. “Now the owner wants to ensure that it is preserved for future generations and ultimately made available for science.”

Wessells described the manuscript as “a beautiful little thing” painstakingly assembled from scraps of household paper and stitched with the original thread.

“The following are attempts at rhyme of an inferior nature, it must be admitted, but they are nonetheless my best,” writes Bronte on the front page of the manuscript. And by the end of the book, she claims creative control over the imaginary world she and her siblings created.

A recording of "book of rhythm," containing the spelling of the word by a 13-year-old Charlotte Brontë "rhymes"

A recording of the Book of Ryhmes, which includes the spelling of the word “Rhymes” by a 13-year-old Charlotte Brontë. Credit: Courtesy of James Cummins Bookseller

“Just think of the Brontë children, who tell and write stories among themselves, study at home in a remote village, and then briefly blossom out to write the books that have since been read by millions, also leaving behind handmade things such as how this manuscript,” said Wessells, who marveled at how the book has survived over the past century.

Brontë and her sisters Emily and Anne wrote some of the most popular novels in English, including Jane Eyre (1847), Wuthering Heights (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1948).

In 2011, another of Brontë’s tiny handwritten manuscripts sold for $1.07 million. Rival museums launched a bidding war for the object – which was written in 1830 when she was 14 years old.

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/charlotte-bronte-rare-manuscript/index.html A miniature manuscript written by Charlotte Brontë that retails for $1.25 million

Charles Jones

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