Okay, I've been trying to ignore Kathryn Sutherland's bizarre publicity stunt this week, in which she's telling anyone who will listen that Jane was nothing without her alleged editor. But hearing her interviewed on NPR this morning made my blood boil--and I feel compelled to put down my views. None of Jane's "fair copy" manuscripts for her published novels has survived. Therefore, Sutherland has been studying the rough drafts of unpublished work--and nobody who lived before the age of the word processor or standardized spellings should be judged by such manuscripts. This is why we call them ROUGH drafts. She also said today in her interview that most of Jane's letters were destroyed--when one hundred and sixty-one exist, and can be seen in manuscript at various libraries in the US and England. They reveal that Jane rarely placed i before e--but also are remarkable for their fluency, wit, and mastery of the English language.
I've written twenty-one novels to date, and benefited from the technology of my time. I value and honor my editor, Kate Miciak--and invariably wait for her response to my prose. I carefully review the comments of copyeditors on the edited manuscript--because I rely on their gentle corrections of infelicitous grammar or errors of fact. But do I regard my publishers as having written my novels? No. Did Jane's publishers write Pride and Prejudice? Not even remotely. Enough with the sensationalism, Kathryn Sutherland. Jane deserves better.