The magazine is tiny, “half the size of a credit card,” Gabriel Heaton, deputy director of books and manuscripts at Sothebys, tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer, and designed to be the right size for the Bronte children’s toy soldiers. Its 19 pages are crammed with more than 4,000 words — short stories, news, even advertisements — discernible only by magnifying glass.
The pages are roughly hewn and much-handled. It’s “what makes it such an evocative object,” Heaton says. “You can almost see her there with her little scissors.”
And on these little pages, the Brontes spun such dreams, each conjuring up entire kingdoms. Charlotte’s fantasy city featured immense palaces and awesome, towering buildings. It was presided over by the Duke of Wellington and his two sons — the heroes of the story.
The tiny hand-printed book could fetch up to $315,000 to $475,000 at the auction house Sotheby’s. One of the stories in the book — written when Brontë was some 14 years old — indeed hints at the “madwoman in the attic” of Jane Eyre.The story contains a “powerful evocation of madness” in which a man imprisons his enemy in the attic and is driven insane by his guilt.
The tiny book literally bears the mark of Brontë, whose name appears on the title page and who must have herself cut the pages and turned them, often. Anyone holding the little book is holding the very object that Brontë herself did.
E-readers are great and perhaps you’re planning to purchase one for a holiday present or have one down on your wish list. But should children start reading print books before “graduating” to the e-book kind? Does it make a difference whether a child reads a book in e-format or in a traditional one, with pages to turn, fold, wrinkle, smooth, pour over? Is the “digital double standard” one with real, with concrete, benefits?
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