literature – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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Children’s literature

Much can be learned on the topic of literature from historic newspapers: book reviews, author biographies, histories of adaptations, and more. For this blog post, we will look at what the newspapers have to offer on the topic of children’s literature. Explore the below articles to discover what books were being read by and recommended for children. Click on an image to enlarge then use the arrows to move image by image throughout the collection. In the image viewer, you

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200th Anniversary of Frankenstein

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the iconic novel about the young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, and the monster he created in his laboratory.  In this post, we will take a look at the history of the novel, a critical early review, the novel’s origins, and its various adaptations for the stage and screen. Publication The Morning Post printed a notice of the publication of a new novel, ‘Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus’, by an anonymous author.  The

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Remembering Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy

This day marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. During the last two centuries, Jane Austen has become a household name. Austen and her modest-sized collection of works has enjoyed a vibrant presence in both academia and western culture, from quotes on magnets and clothing to movie adaptations and sequels to her novels. Austen’s name is equally as at home in highbrow literary essays and criticism as it is in contemporary periodicals meant for mass consumption, such as the

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A Study in Sherlock

The Premiere of Sherlock Holmes What better way to ring in the New Year than with the premiere of the latest series of the BBC’s Sherlock? The hype generated by this latest iteration of the famed ‘consulting detective’ is far from unprecedented. From the first appearance of the sleuth at 221B Baker Street, audiences have been glued to the page and eager for more. Sherlock Holmes first graced the pages of Beeton’s Christmas Annual in the 1887 printing of A

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Samuel Smiles, Author of ‘Self-Help’, Born on 23 December 1812

Samuel Smiles, author of Self-Help; with Illustrations of Character and Conduct, was born in Edinburgh on 23 December 1812. To mark the day, here is a very interesting newspaper review (from 29 December 1859) of his most famous book, ‘Self-Help’, which was published in late November 1859. The Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette – Thursday 29 December 1859 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000360/18591229/019/0004 Edinburgh Evening News – Tuesday 19 April 1904 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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The Death of Thomas De Quincey – 8 December 1859

Thomas Penson De Quincey, author of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, died in Edinburgh on 8 December 1859 – he was 74. To mark the day, here is a newspaper obituary of De Quincey that was published two weeks after his death. Royal Cornwall Gazette – Friday 23 December 1859 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000180/18591223/036/0006 Manchester Times – Friday 08 August 1890 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000504/18900808/030/0005

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The Death of Anthony Trollope – 6 December 1882

Anthony Trollope, author of the ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’, died in London on 6 December 1882 – he was 67. Trollope was the inventor of the post-box, or rather perhaps a leading campaigner for the idea of establishing a post-box, in the UK – it’s a matter of ongoing debate regarding whether he actually invented the post-box. Whatever, the post office and postal system was certainly a major muse on his writing. Here is a detailed newspaper obituary of Trollope that was published just

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The Death of Alexandre Dumas – 5 December 1870

Everyone always says that they’ll be D’Artagnan! Alexandre Dumas, author of classic novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, died in Villers-Cotterets, Aisne, on 5 December 1870 – he was 68. Here is a fascinating newspaper obituary of Dumas – that was published just 12 days after he died – and also a sketch of the great writer that was published in ‘The Graphic’ newspaper. Tamworth Herald – Saturday 17 December 1870 Image © THE

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‘The Lady Vanishes’ and Reappears Again – the Strange Disappearance and Reappearance of Agatha Christie, 3 and 14 December 1926

The brilliant English crime writer, Agatha Christie, disappeared on 3 December 1926, following a row with her husband, Archie. After a massive man hunt (or rather woman hunt) lasting ten days, Mrs Christie was found at a hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, where she had registered under the nom de plume, ‘Mrs Teresa Neele’ of Cape Town. Agatha Christie never explained anything about her sudden sabbatical – so it remains a mystery. Here are two newspaper stories: the first story reports on the disappearance of the

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