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Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands

© Liz Mathews
Liz Mathews/Virginia Woolf, Thames to Dunkirk, London, 2009
An exhibition exploring how Britain's landscapes – rural and urban – have inspired some of the country's greatest literature. More than 150 literary works by Shakespeare, Chaucer, William Blake, Virginia Woolf, JG Ballard, Hanif Kureishi and others are featured in a show that looks at how writers have been inspired by, and helped to shape, the nation's understanding of landscape and place. Highlights include handwritten versions of Kenneth Grahame's 'The Wind in the Willows' and Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures Under Ground', inspired by the Thames, an early manuscript of Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales', describing pilgrims assembled in Southwark, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Lakes' notebook, with a map showing his solitary exploration of the Lake District. Themes for the show include 'Rural Dreams', focusing on Laurie Lee's 'Cider with Rosie' and other quintessentially rural literature, 'The Industrial Muse', featuring work by Ted Hughes and Fay Godwin, 'Cockney Visions', looking at representations of London by Blake, Angela Carter and others, and 'Beyond the City', which focuses on peripheral landscapes, suburbia and the city's edges in works such as JG Ballard's 'Crash'.
Event website: http://www.bl.uk

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An eclectic but comprehensive survey of British Literature from medieval times to the present.