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It would seem that Charlotte Bronte offered to rewrite parts of Jane Eyre after a legal threat from the headmaster of the school on which she based the Lowood school in her novel. And what is exciting everyone is that the letters raise the prospect that somewhere, hidden away in an attic or under a bed, could lie an amended manuscript which Bronte toned down to avoid a libel lawsuit. Seems unlikely, but y'never know. (More via This is Bradford.)

Readers Comments

  1. But would this (theoretical) amended manuscript be particularly interesting? If the bowdlerised Jane Eyre had been the one we knew, and her libellous original was in an attic, that would be news; but this prospect sounds as appetising as reading an edition of Lady Chatterley with the dirty bits cut out.

  2. You are spot-on Tim. By "exciting everyone" I was referring -- unclearly I now see -- to those who think they might make a few quid if they find this bowdlerised grail!

  3. Renata Dumitrascu Saturday 03 June 2006

    How weird. It sounds like the schoolmaster was trying to bully her. I doubt there is a legal case to be made for libel in a work of fiction, unless she went around giving interviews saying that it was all based on her real experience with that school.

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