Literature

Isabella Bird: Explorer or Exploiter
14 July 2021

This guest blog was written by Edward Armston-Sheret, a PhD candidate at Royal Holloway’s Department of Geography. As part of the collaboration between the Royal Historical Society and Adam Matthew Digital, Ed, and a number of other early career researchers, were awarded a twelve-month subscription to Adam Matthew Digital’s collections of digital primary sources. Ed used Nineteenth Century Literary Society to access the material on Isabella Bird, such as the letters mentioned in the blog below:

Isabella Bird is remembered as a pioneering woman traveller. She went to and through every continent except Antarctica and wrote best-selling books on her journeys. Bird was also one of the first women admitted to the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in 1892. Studying her life and travels can draw attention to the often ignored role of women within Victorian geography. But there is a danger of ignoring the people who made her journeys possible.

'Of whiche londes & jles I schall speke more pleynly here after': The travels of Sir John Mandeville
28 May 2021

As covid restrictions are eased and thoughts turn, at least here in Britain, to travelling abroad, my own thoughts have turned to our digital collection Medieval Travel Writing, and to a mysterious globetrotter, or yarn-spinner, or both, about whom so much is contested that even his existence is a matter of debate – Sir John Mandeville.

17 May 2021

Launched last year, Nineteenth-Century Literary Society: The John Murray Publishing Archive charts the growth of the famous John Murray publishing house through the correspondence, accounts and written work of the literary luminaries who worked with the firm for almost 150 years of its history. One such luminary was the poet and aristocrat, Lord Byron, and among the highlights of the resource is the Byron Papers, the largest surviving collection of his writings, personal papers and correspondence.

Celebrating World Poetry Day with the John Murray Archive
19 March 2021

This Sunday, March 21 2021 marks World Poetry Day. I have taken this opportunity to explore the John Murray Archive, digitised from the National Library of Scotland in Adam Matthew Digital’s Nineteenth Century Literary Society: The John Murray Publishing Archive

Madame d'Aulnoy - a fairytale life?
15 January 2021

Children’s Literature and Culture, which launched last year, is packed with wonderful adventures and fantastical stories. Surprisingly, though, some of the most captivating and colourful narratives come not from the books, but from the lives of the authors who wrote them. Today I would like to look at one of my favourite authors from Children’s Literature and Culture, the pioneering fairy-tale writer Marie-Catherine le Jumel de Barneville, commonly known as Madame d’Aulnoy.

A Ghost Story for Christmas
11 December 2020

Telling ghost stories is now a pastime most commonly associated with Halloween but surprisingly it was once a time-honoured Christmas tradition.

 

Like father, like daughter? A Gothic short story by Ada Lovelace
26 November 2020

While most of us will be fortunate to earn one genuine ‘claim to fame’ in our lifetime, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) has two. Best known today for her contributions to the fields of mathematics and computer science, she also happened to be the daughter of a certain George Gordon Byron, the most famous poet of the Romantic era. Today being the anniversary of her death, I wanted to highlight a unique document: a work of fiction, not by Byron, but by his daughter.

Shake not your heads, nor say the Lady's mad: A very Byronic bonfire
06 November 2020

A perennial favourite of the autumn calendar, Bonfire Night – or Guy Fawkes’ – passed quietly in lockdown yesterday with nary a whiff of gunpowder nor plotting on the cold November air. It is not to the attempted parliamentary fireworks of 1605 that I turn today, however, but another bonfire, both literal and literary.

“Blood and revenge are hammering in my head”: Get your Halloween horror fix in Shakespeare’s Globe Archive.
30 October 2020

With COVID-19 scuppering so many holiday plans in 2020 I was determined to still get my Halloween fix this year. Pumpkins have been carved, I’m ready to consume my body weight in pick ‘n’ mix and I’ve been delving back into one of my favourite productions of Shakespeare’s famously gruesome Titus Andronicus in Shakespeare’s Globe Archive.

Primary Inspiration
23 October 2020

It’s been hard to get the creative juices flowing this year, that overwhelming sense of anxiety about the world in general was stifling to say the least. However, the acknowledgements at the end of Colson Whitehead's The Nickle Boys got me thinking...

Eliza Leslie: A Publishing Powerhouse
25 September 2020

This month we’ve been celebrating the release of two resources: Children’s Literature and Culture, and the second module of Food & Drink in History. I was lucky enough to work on commissioning documents for both titles, and one of the best parts of my job is making connections between our resources – connections across history.

It's September – Roll On Christmas!
09 September 2020

Even if you’ve never heard the term “Christmas creep”, chances are you’ll be familiar with the concept. September has only just begun and already you’re noticing Christmas-themed merchandise in the mall and on the outer fringes of the high street.

Excerpts of a young Baron’s travelogue: Byron and Hobhouse in Mediterranean Europe
28 August 2020

As the post-Covid news cycle regularly reminds us of travel corridors, quarantine requirements and localised lockdowns, I have begun to wonder if holidays have ever been so stressful. A browse of the travel manuscripts collected in Nineteenth Century Literary Society reminds me otherwise.

“In Serious Verse”: the politics and poetics of Caroline Norton’s A Voice from the Factories
26 August 2020

In a time when women could not govern democratically, Caroline Norton mobilised the power of poetry to mount political campaigns – and successfully reformed the legal rights of women in the process.

The Bard and the Badger: the story of a grain hoarder
21 August 2020

This Sunday, 23 August, marks five months since lockdown began here in the UK and, as restrictions slowly but steadily begin to ease, I’ve been reflecting on my lockdown experience.

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