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 profile oil painting of a 17th century man in formal clothing

Why didn't Samuel Pepys destroy his incriminating diary? Writer knew his words would end up in print, says expert

Dr Kate Loveman, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester's School of English, says Samuel Pepys suspected his famous diary would be printed - and took steps to protect his reputation.

A photo of an illustration from the Lewis Carroll book Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland at the British Library: From Disney to counter-culture, an exhibition steeped in history

On the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's beloved novel, the British Library celebrates the author and the many interpretations of the story through the years in an exhibition of timelessness, says Angelika Rusbridge.

A black and white photo of explorer James Wordie wearing glasses with a thick beard

Relatives of Shackleton explorer retrace Antarctic journey to fund digitisation of his diaries

Next week, a dozen relatives of James Wordie - the Chief Scientific Officer on Sir Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition in 1915 - will follow in his footsteps, raising money to digitise his diaries.

A close up photo of a red book once owned by the Bronte family

Public floggings, embezzlements and shocks: Unpublished Charlotte Brontë manuscripts bought by museum

A shipwreck-surviving book owned by the Brontë’s mother, including a set of unpublished manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë, has been bought by The Brontë Society.

a painted oil portrait of Percy Byshhe Shelley with open necked silk shirt and quill pen

Bodleian Library acquires and publishes famous 'lost' Shelley poem and pamphlet

Percy Bysshe Shelley's lost political poem, Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things, has been acquired and revealed in full for the first time by the Bodleian Library.

A photo of a trunk of 17th century letters found by academics at Oxford University

"Very rare and extremely cool": X-rays to begin on thousands of 17th century letters which were never read

A haul of 2,000 opened and undelivered letters, discovered in The Hague and dating from the Glorious Revolution period between 1689 and 1707, are about to be read for the first time by experts.

A photo of a black and white cat at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum

Newly-appointed poet writes public address with Oswald, museum's cat-in-residence

A writer and broadcaster who has been appointed as the new poet-in-residence at Stirling’s Smith Art Gallery and Museum has written a work alongside the long-serving museum cat as one of his first......

A boy looking up at an owl at an old train station

Families take to museums around Britain on the lookout for Harry Potter

Fans of Harry Potter are putting their wizardly magic to the test as part of the Harry Potter Spotter Trail, a Kids in Museums celebration of the first ever illustrated copy of J.K Rowling's The......

an engraving ot the Gunpowder Plotters wearing hats and beards of the early Stuart period

On the trail of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plotters in the UK's museums and heritage sites

With Guy Fawkes Night upon us, now is the time to follow our Gunpowder Plot trail to find out more about the plot and the plotters in UK museums and heritage sites, and online.

A man giving a speech

How a museum visit lead the Tonga national team to victory in The Rugby World Cup

Ahead of Tonga’s match winning Rugby World Cup clash with Namibia on September 29, the team attended a cultural ceremony at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. And it seemed to do the......

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 ......

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 ......

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......

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