"Solitude, change, work" Read the full letter


The Manuscripts pages provide full, detailed ‘genetic’ transcriptions of a range of Olive Schreiner's extant manuscripts. These transcriptions track as closely as possible how Schreiner has written her manuscripts. Full genetic transcriptions are 'warts and all', with every addition, deletion and amendment tracked and recorded. Schreiner's avant-textes may be relatively few in number, for many were destroyed, but those that remain are fascinating. They are both extremely messy and complicated, and also in most instances also very legible. Consequently they provide unique insight into her writing process.

Each genetic transcription of a manuscript is accompanied by a detailed commentary which overviews of the manuscript in question, and also a PDF containing the genetic transcription itself. And as use of the terms 'avant-textes' and 'genetic transcription' will indicate, this part of the Schreiner project is being carried out under the sign of genetic criticism and is designed to encourage a deeper engagement with the writing practices that Olive Schreiner engaged in. The transcriptions are technical ones and can be difficult to read, but at the same time they illuminate the process she was carrying out.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the repositories in question for appropriate permissions. The list of genetic transcriptions available will be added to regularly. Each link will provide users with information on how to acknowledge and reference their use of these Olive Schreiner Letters Online materials, provided in the overviewing commentaries.

The genetic transcriptions of manuscripts that are currently available are listed in the drop-down box, preceded by information on transcription conventions and referencing. They will be added to at regular intervals.