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The British Library has opened up a vast online collection of literary treasures and scholarly articles via its new website, Discovering Literature, in a bid to pique young students' interest in classic books.
The new project covers the Romantic and Victorian periods, from William Blake to the science fiction of H G Wells. However, the British Library aims to extend this online collection up to present day authors and as far back in time as the Old English epic Beowulf.
Among the artefacts digitalised for the first time are Jane Austen's notebooks, the childhood works of the Brontë sisters, manuscripts by Keats, Wordsworth and many others plus intriguing early drafts of William Blake's classic poems 'Tyger Tyger' and 'London'. (...)
The British Library has also attempted to make classic books seem less unassailable to students by pointing to the negative responses these works attracted in their day. The collection includes a pamphlet vehemently defending the Clergy Daughters' School, an institution attended by both Brontë sisters and widely believed to have been attacked in Jane Eyre as Lowood School. The founder Rev H Shepheard thunders: "the charges made against the school and its founder are erroneous and unjust ... uncontradicted calumnies." (Iona McLaren)
Governess advertisements from the Morning PostCollection itemHow did a governess find work? Shown here is a page of advertisements from The Morning Post, including ...Geography book annotated by the BrontësCollection itemThis delightful book contains a wealth of information about world geography in all its social and physical ...Five letters from Charlotte Brontë to Ellen Nussey...Collection itemIn these five deeply personal letters from Charlotte Brontë, each written on traditional mourning paper, ...Letters from Charlotte Brontë to Prof. Constantin...Collection itemIn 1842 Charlotte and Emily Brontë travelled to Brussels to study at the Pensionnat Heger, a school for ...Letter on slavery from the Leeds MercuryCollection itemThis passionate appeal against the slavery system was published in the Leeds Mercury in February 1830, three ...Letter from Robert Southey to Charlotte Brontë, 12...Collection itemExchanged 10 years before the publication of Jane Eyre (1847), this manuscript letter from the poet laureate ...Manuscript of Emily Brontë's Gondal poetryCollection itemIn 1844, Emily Brontë began two new notebooks. In this one she copied out 45 poems relating to the ...Review of Wuthering Heights from the ExaminerCollection itemWhat stance does the reviewer take? In this review of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights the ...Reports from the Governesses' Benevolent Instituti...Collection itemShown here are Governesses’ Benevolent Institution's reports from the years 1843-1853, bound together ...Review of Jane Eyre by George Henry LewesCollection itemThis is a contemporary review of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, published in Fraser’s Magazine, ...Review of Jane Eyre from the EraCollection itemThis warm, positive Era review of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre reminds us of how startlingly different this ...Review of Jane Eyre by Elizabeth RigbyCollection itemThis review of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre by Elizabeth Rigby, journalist and critic, is perhaps one of ...Newspaper article about the exploitation of govern...Collection itemShown here is an article from The Penny Satirist printed in December 1842. It reports how a man attempted to ...Illustrations to Byron's worksCollection itemEngravings illustrating the poetry and life of Lord Byron were highly popular during the early-mid 19th century. ...Missionary magazine for childrenCollection itemAimed at children, The Juvenile Missionary Magazine is a periodical that contains missionary intelligence and ...