The Ashley Manuscripts Form One of the Most Important Collections of 19th-century English literary manuscripts in existence. Spanning the period from Coleridge to Conrad, with the emphasis on poetical manuscripts and the correspondence of writers, critics, collectors and bibliographers, the manuscripts were formerly part of the outstanding library assembled by Thomas James Wise (1859-1937), forger, pirate, book-thief and President of the Bibliographical Society. The collection is particularly strong in manuscripts of the Younger Romantics and of the Pre-Raphaelites, together with their ally Swinburne. Wise really started the practice of collecting the manuscripts of contemporary authors and was adept in seeking out the widows, widowers, children and step-children of the preceding generation. The lack of an accurate and trustworthy catalogue has prevented this marvellous collection from being exploited as it ought. Wise's lack of scholarship and of honesty, and his practice of dispersing related manuscripts throughout the collection, have made it impossible to identify the contents accurately. In this new catalogue, T.A.J. Burnett has described and indexed the collection in great detail and with meticulous scholarship, and has thereby made it more readily available to students of one of the greatest periods in English Literature.