Some months ago Brian Bracken discovered a ‘lost’ Brontë manuscript, which is now published in the renowned London Review of Books. It is the first devoir written by Charlotte at the Pensionnat Heger, on 16 March 1842. The little story is a sort of fable about a young rat, entitled L’Ingratitude.
The manuscript was found in the Musée Royal de Mariemont, near Charleroi, along with some other Brontë related papers. In 1915 Paul Heger had given them to Raoul Warocqué, a wealthy collector. He also managed to acquire letters from, for instance, Rembrandt, Mozart and Erasmus.
For many decades these papers were accessible to anyone, but it was a fairly coincidental finding by Brian that led to this great discovery.
Special thanks go to Sue Lonoff, the expert on the Brussels devoirs, who also provided the translation of the manuscript.
The article will be available on the website of the London Review of Books. The paper version, dated 8 March, will be available this Thursday, 1 March.
The Guardian has already published an article about the discovery, on 28 February.