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Unfinished Jane Austen manuscript to be auctioned

12th July 2011

A manuscript by Jane Austen, which was unfinished at the time of the writer's death, is to go up for auction in New York, it has been confirmed.

Austen was only approximately a quarter of the way through The Watsons when she died in 1804, but the abandoned manuscript lives on, complete with annotations suggesting where the plot might go next.

It will be auctioned at Sotheby's this Thursday (July 14th), where a number of literary enthusiasts and collectors are set to be in attendance.

Gabriel Heaton, a spokesman for the auction house, told the Wall Street Journal he expects the manuscript to sell for as much as USD 500,000 (GBP 316,000).

'It's very much a working draft. You can see how her mind was moving - how she's refining and sharpening her text as she revises,' he added.

Last month, historians at Ancestry.com discovered that Kate Middleton is a distant relative of Jane Austen, through their 15th-century common ancestor Henry Percy, the 2nd Earl of Northumberland. 

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