Literary History

Explore Britain's rich literary heritage with events, features, news and web resources collected from hundreds of museums, archives, historic properties and libraries across the UK .

A man by the sea holding a giant pencil.

National Trust unveils Ode to the Coast poem by punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke

In celebration of 50 years of its Neptune Coastline Campaign, The National Trust has launched a new poem for National Poetry Day, The Nation’s Ode to the Coast, written by famous ‘punk poet’ Dr John Cooper Clarke.

a double locket with hair on both compartments and the names

From a lock of Shelley's hair to Shakespeare's First Folio: Ten treasures from the Bodleian's Marks of Genius

A lock of Shelley's hair, Shakespeare's First Folio, The Magna Carta... It's the last chance to see the Bodleian Library's glittering Marks of Genius exhibition. Here's ten tasters to get you heading towards Oxford.

A photo of a portrait of a Spanish queen by artist Vincente Lopez which has been bought by The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Samuel Palmer's wit and passion revealed as museum buys dozens of influential 19th century artist's letters

Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum has become the first museum in the UK to own a Royal portrait by Spanish court painter Vicente López, as well as a series of letters written during Samuel Palmer's final years.

A photo of a sculpted toad coloured green with red hair and a black jacket

Hull to be covered in giant kaleidoscopic toads for 30th anniversary of Philip Larkin's death

An eight-metre inflatable Flying Toad, soaring on the skyline of the city, will perhaps be the highlight when sculpted toads take over Hull for five days in August.

A photograph of a pamphlet

"A song for a new Welsh nation": Patagonian Welsh national anthem discovered in 19th century pamphlet

The back of an 1875 pamphlet suggests the Welsh community in Patagonia nearly had their own national anthem.

An image of the front of a book drawn in black pencil showing various royal figures

"Disgraceful" first edition of Alice in Wonderland, rejected by book's illustrator, goes on public display

Curators say they can understand why illustrator John Tenniel complained about the printing of an edition with a print run of 2,000 in June 1865.

a black and white photo of author JM Barrie surrounded by children, some standing next to him and lots sitting on the floor

Lost JM Barrie play kickstarts final fundraiser for Scottish Children's Literature and Storytelling Centre

A play the Peter Pan author thought was "lost" will return to the academy where it was first performed nearly 140 years ago as a fundraiser for the transformation of Moat Brae House.

Photo of a painting of a man in armour on a battlefield

The Brontës, War and Waterloo shows the influence of the Napoleonic era on the literary family

The Brontë Parsonage Museum is exploring how contemporary events during the Napoleonic wars fueled the Brontës' literary imagination.

A photo of an old newspaper advertisement about a book dealing in gardens

Scots had expensive taste for "novelty" curry in Victorian times, newspaper reveals

Curry was "way beyond the means" of most people two centuries ago, say historians in Edinburgh who found an advert by a grocer selling a powder from India in 1798.

a black and white photo of a woman with hands on hips, wearing a hat

Exhibition of rarely seen photographs to provide clues about the mysterious life of Agatha Christie

The Bankside Gallery, London will present a new photographic exhibition of rare and unseen photographs marking the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth.

Photo of an image of a woman in black and white on a green background

Mary Wollstonecraft helps People's History Museum with crowdfunding appeal

The People's History Museum has teamed up with graffiti artist Stewy for the latest phase of its Sponsor a Radical Hero fundraising campaign, promoting the legacy Mary Wollstonecraft.

Photo from a door at green countryside and trees

Searching for the science behind Tolkien's Middle-earth: Leicester University students map the hobbit metabolism

Two natural sciences students have investigated the logistical issues of lembas bread and have calculated that a hobbit would need 1,818 calories a day.

A photo of teeth and a thumb bone on a red background

Public vote on new digital Magna Carta celebrates 800th anniversary of the charter

A set of digital rights clauses created by 3,000 students worldwide are to be voted on by the public as part of a new digital Magna Carta, with the ‘Top 10’ clauses revealed on Magna Carta Day......

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