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 photo of a 19th century cookbook written by charles dickens' wife, catherine

Catherine Dickens' 19th century cookbook offers recipes for 20 and "frequent toasted cheese"

Catherine Dickens’ cookbook, written during the mid-19th century, includes an introduction by Charles Dickens, writing as Sir Charles Coldstream.

A photo of the handwritten final letter of mary, queen of scots written in 1587

Object of the Week: Mary, Queen of Scots' final letter - "I am to be executed like a criminal"

On February 8 1587, at 2am on the morning of her execution, Mary, Queen of Scotland, wrote to her former brother-in-law, the French King Henry III.

A photo of a pair of glasses which once belonged to the poet William Wordsworth

How William Wordsworth's glasses show the poet's lifelong struggle with eye problems

William Wordsworth was at times left partially sighted and sensitive to bright lights. Read more in this piece from the Wordsworth Museum, where his 19th century glasses are on display.

a close up of a handwritten in ink scrolled letter with the signature John Locke

The poet, the polymath and the fallen archbishop: Precious 17th century writings acquired by Bodleian Libraries

National literary treasures are now back in the UK after the Bodleian Libraries secured several rare works by 17th century greats Donne, Locke and Aubrey, from the collection of the late American......

A hand drawn map with the word Mordor and handwriting around it

Middle Earth Map annotated by JRR Tolkien acquired by Bodleian Libraries

A map of Middle-earth, annotated by JRR Tolkien and Pauline Baynes for Baynes’ iconic poster map of Middle-earth, published in 1970, has been acquired by the Bodleian Libraries.

A photo of a yellowed sheet of paper telling the story of Newark during the English Civil War

Object of the Week: The news sheets relating the King's surrender days after the fall of Newark in the English Civil War

In May 1646, news sheets - now held in the town's National Civil War - confirmed that Newark had been taken during a Civil War clash between the Parliamentary and Royalist forces.

Metamorphosis: Experts say 21st century is seventh age of William Shakespeare's works

Four hundred years after William Shakespeare's baptism, a new exhibition suggests digitising his work only creates the latest stage in its metamorphosis.

A photo of a copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio showing A Midsummer Night's Dream

Object of the Week: William Shakespeare's First Folio, as owned by King George III

Printed in 1623, this copy of the First Folio has been left open at A Midsummer Night’s Dream as it makes its first appearance outside of the British Library.

A photo showing an engraving of William Shakespeare on a 20 pound Bank of England note

A man of note: The artwork behind William Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet's £20 note

A new Bank of England Museum exhibition revisits the beautiful artwork of the £20 series D note issued in 1970 - and remembers designer Harry Eccleston six years after his death.

A photo of a death scene from a book or play by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's Dead: Deathbeds, leering skulls and the folio that started it all

Death is eternal in Shakespeare. Take a look at the new Shakespeare's Dead exhibition at the Weston Library in Oxford, with co-curator Professor Emma Smith.

A photo of the grave of William Shakespeare at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon

"His skull isn't there at all": Archaeologists say spine-shivering radar results show Shakespeare's head was taken from grave

The first ever archaeological work carried out on Shakespeare's grave, at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, shows "very convincing" evidence of a missing skull, say experts.

A photo of the head of William Shakespeare

Comedies, histories and tragedies: Inside a magnificent 17th century Willliam Shakespeare Third Folio

This Third Folio of William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories and Tragedies was published in 1685. Adam Douglas, Senior Books Specialist at leading rare books firm Peter Harrington, takes a leaf......

A photo of a medieval painting of John the Baptist found at Shakespeare's Schoolroom

"It was miraculous": The moment when conservators found John the Baptist in Shakespeare's Schoolroom

Leading Art Conservator Mark Perry was stunned to find the figure of John the Baptist in a medieval wall painting at Shakespeare's Schoolroom, which will open to the public on Shakespeare's birthday.

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