LONDON — An unpublished Charlotte Bronte manuscript has sold for a record 690,850 pounds ($1.1 million) at auction, more than double the expected price, Sotheby's auction house said Thursday.
The Young Men's Magazine, Number 2, was written in 1830 – when the author was 14, 17 years before she wrote "Jane Eyre." It is set in Glass Town, the earliest fictional world created by the Bronte siblings.
Sotheby's had predicted the manuscript would sell for between 200,000 and 300,000 pounds, but said Thursday the final sale price set new auction records for Bronte and for a literary work by any of the Bronte sisters.
The auction house said that the Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits in Paris placed the winning bid following "a tense bidding battle." The museum will exhibit the work in January, it added.
The manuscript, which Sotheby's said had never been seen by scholars until its appearance at auction, is tiny. It contains more than 4,000 words on 19 pages, each measuring around 1.4 inches (35 millimeters) by 2.4 inches (61millimeters).
Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby's senior specialist in the books and manuscripts department, said the manuscript, featuring a "colorful tale of murder and madness" which includes a precursor to one of the most famous scenes of "Jane Eyre," marked Charlotte Bronte's "first burst of creativity" and provided "a rare and intimate insight" into a great literary mind.