Even Jane Austen Needed an Editor

It seems Jane Austen wasn’t “all that,” you who worship at the altar of Precision Grammar.

Oxford University English professor Kathryn Sutherland studied 1,100 handwritten pages of unpublished work from the author of incisive social comedies such as “Pride and Prejudice.” She said Saturday that they contradicted the claim by Austen’s brother Henry that “everything came finished from her pen.”

“In reading the manuscripts, it quickly becomes clear that this delicate precision is missing,” Sutherland said.

She said the papers show “blots, crossings out, messiness,” and a writer who “broke most of the rules for writing good English.”

And F. Scott Fitzgerald was a terrible speller. Which gives us all license to spell kreatively and be as ungrammatical as we wannabe, and let editors sort out that stuff.

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