Seventy years ago, on the 8 June 1949, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was published here in London. Over the years, the imaginative dystopian world created by Orwell would have a huge influence on our language and become an important part of London’s literary history.
Research into our collections
In our current exhibition, Staging Magic - The Story Behind The Illusion, one of our themes is ‘Masters of Magic and Their Influence.’ Here you can see items relating to some of the great conjurors: John Henry Anderson and Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, who popularised magic as a theatrical art in the 19th century, female magicians Adelaide Herrmann and Mercedes Talma, and the masters of the American stage such as Howard Thurston and Harry Houdini.
The Vye donation is significant for the University of London. It is the first bulk donation of books and the first group of antiquarian books to have entered the University, arriving as early as 1838, only two years after the University’s foundation. As Nathaniel Vye (1791-1840), a medical practitioner in Ilfracombe, Devon, was not a University man, the gift indicates early good will among the wider British public towards the University.
Was Mary, Queen of Scots an innocent victim or a wily traitor and agitator? The dramatic potential of her imprisonment and death under Elizabeth I of England, the subject of the new film Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, has long been exploited.
Shelagh Delaney, born 25 November 1938, brought a new and vibrant voice to the 1950s English stage: female, teenage, working class, and northern. On 27th May 1958 the play A Taste of Honey was first performed at the Theatre Royal, Stratford. Written by the 19-year-old Shelagh Delaney A Taste of Honey would later transfer to the West End and transform into a film which became symbolic of the late 1950s / early1960s ‘kitchen sink drama’.
Helen Bosanquet neé Dendy (1860-1926) was born in Manchester on 10 February 1860, the fifth child and youngest daughter in a large middle-class family. After being educated at home by a German governess, she went on to study political economy at Newham College, Cambridge, where she gained first-class honors in the moral sciences tripos in 1889.
We have first editions, letters, and periodicals related to George Eliot’s life and work from our collections on display in the Seng Tee Lee Centre on the 4th floor of the Library. This is inspired by and in support of the inaugural Nineteenth Century Study Week at the Institute of English Studies. The display in the Library will continue up until Friday 1 June 2018.
Ahead of next year’s 250th anniversary of her birth, the inaugural Nineteenth Century Study Week at the Institute of English Studies takes George Eliot as its subject. To mark this, a small display of material related to Eliot’s life and work will be in the Seng Tee Lee Centre on the 4th floor. The Display’s features material from across the Library’s collections, including Eliot’s early periodical contributions, first editions and letters.
3 May is World Press Freedom Day and what better way to highlight the importance of this than through the incredible story of Susannah Wright – one of the few women to be sent to jail for selling ‘salacious literature’ in the early nineteenth century.
On the 200th anniversary of the publication of The Fairchild Family by Mary Martha Sherwood (1775-1851), we take a look at the prolific, didactic, evangelical author, whose writings dominated education for half a century and whose first generation of readers grew up to shape the Victorian world.