Paris museum snaps up Bronte manuscript

Paris museum snaps up Bronte manuscript

LONDON - Reuters
Paris museum snaps up Bronte manuscript

The booklet by the author of the 19th century classic “Jane Eyre” contains more than 4,000 words in miniature letters on 19 pages, and measure less than 2.5 inches. AFP/ Sotheby's

A French museum paid 691,000 pounds ($1.1 million) on Thursday for a miniature manuscript written by Charlotte Bronte, ending hopes it would return to the British author’s former home that is now a museum.

The 1830 booklet, which fits comfortably into the palm of a hand, had been expected to fetch 200-300,000 pounds, and the final price was an auction record for a manuscript by any of the Bronte sisters.

After what Sotheby’s described as a “tense bidding battle,” the manuscript was bought by La Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits in Paris, where it will be exhibited in January.

The news came as a blow to the Bronte Parsonage Museum in the famous literary family’s former home in northern England which had launched an appeal to buy the artifact.

The museum already owns four of the six tiny booklets, and one remains untraced.

“This is unquestionably the most significant Bronte manuscript to come to light in decades and an important part of our broader literary heritage,” said Andrew McCarthy, director of the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

“It belongs in Haworth and we are bitterly disappointed that scholars and members of the public may now not have the opportunity to study and enjoy it as part of our public collection.”