Special Collections

The Children’s Book that Shaped the Victorian World

On the 200 th 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. From humble beginnings... Roehampton University ; Sherwood, Mary Martha.  The Fairchild Family . London, 1818. Source: Wikicommons
13 Apr 2018
Dr Karen Attar

Operation Tiger: Marking 34 years since the raid on Gay's The Word Bookshop

Gay’s the Word , an independent LGBT bookshop at 66 Marchmont Street, is a Bloomsbury institution and features in the film Pride (2014) . On 10 April 1984, the shop was raided by UK Customs and Excise, who seized its imported books. What became known as Operation Tiger saw the eventual confiscation of 144 titles consisting of thousands of pounds worth of stock, with works by Jean Genet, Gore Vidal, Djuna Barnes and Jean-Paul Sartre included amongst those deemed obscene.
10 Apr 2018
Leila Kassir

How to become a book collector by Anthony Davis Prize winner Astrid Khoo

I never set out to become a book collector. As a teenager, stories fed my escapist fantasies; back in Melbourne I must have read a good half of the school library. In short I don’t think I ever developed an ‘interest’ for books – as that sounds awfully cold and detached – but rather I fell in love with reading during my formative years, and the natural consequence of that was becoming a book collector. 
20 Mar 2018
Astrid Khoo

Feature of the Month: A Bold Stroke for a Wife

Susanna Centlivre was a leading comic dramatist of the early eighteenth century, and was particularly conspicuous as a female in a male world. Her Bold Stroke for a Wife was first performed in February 1718. Three hundred years later, we commemorate it as our Feature of the Month.

31 Jan 2018
Dr Karen Attar

Feature of the Month: Frankenstein at 200

At the beginning of January 1818, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley published Frankenstein – a pioneering work of science fiction that gripped audiences at the time and still captivates the world. How a woman could write anything so repulsive beggared belief. Two hundred years later, we explore the book in our Feature of the Month.

30 Nov 2017
Dr Karen Attar

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