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Tiny Bronte book, unseen for a century, goes on sale

NEW YORK (AFP) – A miniature book of poems written by a 13-year-old Charlotte Bronte was unveiled in New York on Thursday after more than a century hidden away.

Smaller than a playing card, the 15-page manuscript dated 1829 is a collection of ten unpublished poems.

Titled A Book of Ryhmes by Charlotte Bronte, Sold by Nobody, and Printed by Herself, the volume is hand-stitched in its original brown paper covers.

It is the last of more than two dozen miniature works created by the “Jane Eyre” novelist known to remain in private hands.

The book hasn’t been seen in public since November 1916, when it sold at auction in New York City for USD520.

Now it is us up for sale at the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, with an asking price of USD1.25 million. The fair opened Thursday and runs until Sunday.

The existence of the handwritten A Book of Ryhmes has long been known to scholars, having been mentioned in Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1857 biography of Bronte.

But the poems themselves, whose titles include The Beauty of Nature, Songs of an Exile and On Seeing the Ruins of the Tower of Babel have never published.

Raised in relative isolation in the moorland village of Haworth in Yorkshire, England, Bronte and her younger sisters Emily and Anne entertained themselves by weaving intricate stories set in a sophisticated imaginary world.

A miniature of the unpublished manuscript titled ‘A Book of Rhymes by Charlotte Bronte, Sold by Nobody, and Printed by Herself’. PHOTO: AFP