AUSTIN, Sarah.

Autograph letter signed discussing the frustrations of publishing a periodical work for children.

26 Park Road, Regent's Park: 2 March, [no year, but likely c.1829-36] Stock Code: 124627
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"I am forced to relinquish it from the difficulty of finding a publisher"

Autograph letter signed to an unknown female recipient setting out Austin's thoughts regarding the establishment of a "periodical work for children". Despite the recipient's enthusiasm, her own, "and that of everyone, without a single exception, of my female friends and acquaintances I am forced to relinquish it from the difficulty of finding a publisher - Murray, though he expressed himself in the handsomest manner both as to the plan and the matter (which he saw) has his hands tied by his family Library. Baldwin is aiming at some older magazine and Harris, though delighted with the scheme and the matter, dreads the expense and fatigue of getting a periodical into sale - a sort of thing he is not accustomed to". Austin, frustrated but determined, goes on to suggest an alternative strategy to ensure the publication of the material using "volunteer assistants".

The English writer and international salonnière Sarah Austin (1793-1867), highly praised for her important translations from German and French, supplemented her family's income by writing for periodicals, preferring the anonymity of monthlies and quarterlies. "As several of Austin's letters from 1829 and 1830 to John Murray make clear, she was eager to have him publish children's literature, be that in book form or as a periodical" (Schweitzer, p. 59). One such proposal made to Murray was for a translation from the German of Friedrich Wilhelm Carové's The Story Without an End, a favourite of her daughter. As was the case with many of Austin's projects - including that mentioned here - Murray eventually rejected it, and it was only in 1834 that the children's story was published by Effingham Wilson, receiving very favourable reviews.

Austin's letters are rarely dated with a year. We suggest circa 1829-36 for a number of reasons: her preoccupation with this exact subject matter at this time, John Stuart Mill's letters to Austin ("My dear Mütterlein") of 1830-31 are addressed to the same 26 Park Road, and in 1836 Austin was in Malta, her husband having been appointed head of a commission there. They did not permanently move back to England until 1848, after which point they settled at Weybridge.

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Single bifolium (leaf size: 184 x 113 mm). 4 pages, hand written in ink filling each side.


Lightly toned, two very faint glue marks to top margin of first page, partly split along fold, else very good condition.


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