Ivory edition,
numbered from 1 to 1,000
$290 $
Large format (10 x 14'')

More details

Jane Eyre - titre manuscrit

The original masterpiece of Charlotte Brontë, a manuscript of just over 824 pages, reproduced in a three-volume edition illustrated with engravings by Edmund Garrett.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë's manuscript

In this three-volume box set, the original manuscript of Jane Eyre is reproduced in a luxury edition restored by our team of specialized graphic designers. This elegantly handwritten document by Charlotte Brontë is illustrated with engravings by the artist Edmund Garrett, created almost forty years after the death of the novelist for an edition published in 1897.

Le manuscrit de Jane Eyre de Charlotte Brontë - livre ouvert

The Brontë sisters' literary childhood and early novels

On a windy moor in West Yorkshire, England, in the parsonage of Haworth, Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell forged a rich and lasting literary bond from a young age. Charlotte, the eldest, one day suggested that they each invent their own island kingdom. This first foray into role-playing marked the beginning of a very long succession. These literary games spawned a multitude of fantasy worlds and realms, shaping the shared imagination of the siblings and of the three future novelists.

After the publication of a joint poetry collection at the end of May 1846, the three sisters conspired to publish a trio of novels in a similar model. Emily embarked on her future masterpiece, Wuthering Heights, Anne penned Agnes Gray, and Charlotte composed her first novel, The Professor. However, they couldn’t find a common publisher and decided to publish their texts separately.

Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece, Jane Eyre

Although Anne and Emily found publishers easily, Charlotte’s manuscript for The Professor was unanimously refused. Not easily discouraged, she addressed it to one last publisher, Smith and Elder. In August 1847, Charlotte received a letter rejecting The Professor. However, the reasons for their refusal explained in the letter encouraged her to keep writing, specifying that a work “in three volumes”, more in keeping with the taste of readers, would be met with careful attention. Soon after, she sent off the manuscript of Jane Eyre, a novel presenting the autobiography of the eponymous heroine: an orphan who refuses to let the pitfalls of her fate overcome her obstinate character, her passion or her independence.

Through her rebellious and passionate heroine, Charlotte Brontë seized her own destiny as a writer. As told by Charlotte’s biographer Elizabeth Gaskell, “She told her sisters that they were wrong - even morally wrong - in making their heroines beautiful as a matter of course. They replied that it was impossible to make a heroine interesting on any other terms.” Yet Charlotte’s response was thus, “I will prove to you that you are wrong; I will show you a heroine as plain and as small as myself, who shall be as interesting as any of yours.”

The editor accepted the manuscript and Jane Eyre was published two months later in October 1847 under the male pseudonym ‘Currer Bell’, making Charlotte the first of the three sisters to have her novel published. Unlike Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre was an immediate success, even winning over Queen Victoria and sparking immense curiosity: who was this talented and daring author by the name of Currer Bell? Even now, almost 170 years after its publication, the novel continues to inspire writers, artists and filmmakers.

cette édition de Jane Eyre est agrémentée de gravures

The manuscript

The document presented in this edition is the only manuscript of the novel known to date, that which Charlotte Brontë sent to the publisher Smith and Elder in 1847. Today, it is one of the most precious treasures kept in the British Library. It has never before been published due to the technical difficulties involved in its publication.

The title page, dated 16 March 1847, is signed under the name ‘Currer Bell’, Charlotte Brontë’s chosen pseudonym when she decided to publish under an alias. According to Elizabeth Gaskell, she contemplated her words at length before putting them on paper in elegant handwriting, and consequently the document contains relatively few corrections or crossings-out. However, one of the rare passages that the novelist modifies is the heroine’s encounter with Mr. Rochester, to emphasise her strength of will.

In the words of Claire Harman, Charlotte Brontë specialist: What we see is the end of a long process for Charlotte Brontë, the last edits and adjustments to a story that had been with her for several years and that she wanted to present in an almost perfect condition to bowl over the publishers who had been intrigued but ultimately dissatisfied with 'The Professor'. The manuscript shows justifiable pride in her work and control of it – and carefully hides the hard graft she had gone through to get there.

Illustrated by Edmund Garrett

Charlotte Brontë’s manuscript is illustrated with forty-five etchings in black and white by the American artist Edmund Garrett (1853-1929) for an edition published in 1897. Compared to more faithful illustrations, his series of etchings reveals a freer interpretation of the universe of Jane Eyre. A prolific illustrator, Edmund Garret is also known for his illustrations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, poems by John Keats and novels by Alexandre Dumas.

L'édition manuscrite de Jane Eyre est présentée dans un coffret

Charlotte Brontë, a life dedicated to writing

Born on 21 April 1816 in Thornton in West Yorkshire, Charlotte Brontë was the third of six children. The family was severely affected by bereavement when the children were still young: their mother died of cancer and the two older sisters succumbed to tuberculosis. Their father, the Reverend Patrick Brontë, raised Charlotte, Anne and Emily together with their brother Branwell. The Brontë children soon took refuge in literature and writing, inventing the imaginary world Glass Town - from which they spun multi-layer stories and fantasies. From an early age, Charlotte was torn between two ambitions, that of teaching and setting up her own school, and the desire to create. During a stay in a boarding school in Brussels between 1842 and 1843, she became attached to her tutor, the headmistress’s husband, with whom she would maintain a short-lived correspondence - does the outline of this man appear discreetly in the guise of the future Mr Rochester?

Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell was published in 1846, while Jane Eyre appeared the following year. The book was received enthusiastically by the public, and Charlotte began work on her third novel Shirley. Yet, struck by misfortune, the Brontë siblings succumbed to fragile health and died in quick succession, first Branwell, then Emily and Anne, all between September 1848 and May 1849. Despite the depression that followed their deaths, Charlotte continued to pursue her journey as a woman and as a writer, and married in 1854, though her conjugal and literary happiness was short-lived. Charlotte died on 31 March in 1855 in Haworth - a village depicted by the Brontë sisters in the works they wrote there, in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and including the parsonage held by their father, which is now converted into the Brontë Parsonage Museum managed by the Brontë Society.

Jane Eyre : manuscript and slipcase


The New York Yimes logo

Mrs Dalloway: Thanks to a new reproduction of the only full draft of Mrs. Dalloway, handwritten in three notebooks and initially titled “The Hours,” we now know that the story she completed — about a day in the life of a London housewife planning a dinner party — was a far cry from the one she’d set out to write (...)

The Guardian Logo

The Grapes of Wrath: The handwritten manuscript of John Steinbeck’s masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath, complete with the swearwords excised from the published novel and revealing the urgency with which the author wrote, is to be published for the first time. There are scarcely any crossings-out or rewrites in the manuscript, although the original shows how publisher Viking Press edited out Steinbeck’s dozen uses of the word “fuck”, in an attempt to make the novel less controversial. (...)

Jane Eyre: This is a book for passionate people who are willing to discover Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë's work in a new way. Brontë's prose is clear, with only occasional modifications. She sometimes strikes out words, proposes others, circles a sentence she doesn't like and replaces it with another carefully crafted option. (...)

The observer logo

The Jungle Book: Some 173 sheets bearing Kipling’s elegant handwriting, and about a dozen drawings in black ink, offer insights into his creative process. The drawings were not published because they are unfinished, essentially works in progress. (...)

The Lost World: SP Books has published a new edition of The Lost World, Conan Doyle’s 1912 landmark adventure story. It reproduces Conan Doyle’s original manuscript for the first time, and includes a foreword by Jon Lellenberg: "It was very exciting to see, page by page, the creation of Conan Doyle’s story. To see the mind of the man as he wrote it". Among Conan Doyle’s archive, Lellenberg made an extraordinary discovery – a stash of photographs of the writer and his friends dressed as characters from the novel, with Conan Doyle taking the part of its combustible hero, Professor Challenger. (...)

The Chicago Tribune Logo

Frankenstein: There is understandably a burst of activity surrounding the book’s 200th anniversary. The original, 1818 edition has been reissued, as paperback by Penguin Classics. There’s a beautifully illustrated hardcover, “The New Annotated Frankenstein” (Liveright) and a spectacular limited edition luxury facsimile by SP Books of the original manuscript in Shelley's own handwriting based on her notebooks. (...)

the washington post logo

The Great Gatsby: But what if you require a big sumptuous volume to place under the tree? You won’t find anything more breathtaking than SP Books ’s facsimile of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s handwritten manuscript of The Great Gatsby, showing the deletions, emendations and reworked passages that eventually produced an American masterpiece (...)

Fine Books Magazine logo

Oliver Twist: In the first ever facsimile edition of the manuscript SP Books celebrates this iconic tale, revealing largely unseen edits that shed new light on the narrative of the story and on Dickens’s personality. Heavy lines blocking out text are intermixed with painterly arabesque annotations, while some characters' names are changed, including Oliver’s aunt Rose who was originally called Emily. The manuscript also provides insight into how Dickens censored his text, evident in the repeated attempts to curb his tendency towards over-emphasis and the use of violent language, particularly in moderating Bill Sikes’s brutality to Nancy. (...)

lit hub logo

Peter Pan: It is the manuscript of the latter, one of the jewels of the Berg Collection in the New York Public Library, which is reproduced here for the first time. Peter’s adventures in Neverland, described in Barrie’s small neat handwriting, are brought to life by the evocative color plates with which the artist Gwynedd Hudson decorated one of the last editions to be published in Barrie’s lifetime. (...)

Customer reviews


I first saw this when visiting the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth and coveted it on first sight. It was too big to carry on my travels, so I ordered it from SP Books when I returned home. It arrived in Canada 5 days later and I love it! You can see the pride she took in her work and her handwriting is so easy to read (unlike mine). It is not only a wonderful artifact for Brontë fans, it is fun to read. I treasure it.

Juliet B

This is such a beautiful manuscript and a must for Jane Eyre fans. It is high quality and beautifully presented. I feel honoured to own one


I am in deep love for the pure soncere soul of charlotte

We came across this title in the Bronte Parsonage gift shop in Howarth to our total surprise and delight and bought a copy there and then. Fabulous quality in this reproduced masterpiece and would recommend this treasure to anyone who has an interest in the works of the Bronte's, or simply a collector of books. Complete with the actual changes to words that were made before sending to publication this truly is a wonderful piece.

Heard about this edition on Open Book and immediately proceeded to order my own copy. Quick shipping. Beautiful book, inside and out. The handwritten text is legible and fascinating to read through. A must for all Brontë enthusiasts.