Writing Britain – the creme da le creme!

I was very fortunate to get my ticket on the last week it was being shown at the British Library – it’s one of those things that I would get round to buying if I had enough time, and impulsively picked a day and went straight to Euston Square.

The exhibition showcases so many writing displays in different formats – from manuscripts to video clips and voice recordings of writers past and present. What’s amazing about these manuscripts is that you get a more personal feel that is rarely since well… the printing press. If only I’d studied graphology – seeing how personality has often been analysed through writing. You can normally hear volumes how writers select their words (through our eyes of course – not going Barthes on you guys yet) but when you see what they’ve chosen over certain other words that they may have scribbled in the corners, or even grammatical errors that they’ve created, some the same as me – it creates a bond between you and the writer to see art in that raw unedited form. I couldn’t suppress a gasp when I was reading Blake’s manuscript of London to find a rough version of Tyger Tyger in the corner (I know, gasping in a library! I live dangerously).

Separated into all sorts of sections – the city, the seaside, the country and the wilderness – all these concepts where British Literature has flourished with peppered each corner, even with recordings and manuscripts of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath side by side. This was also punctuated with photographs and video montages, making the whole sensory feast complete. All the big guns are shown, from Chaucer to Dickens to Woolf to Robert Louis Stephenson to Kurieshi to Lewis Carroll to Shakespeare to the Romantic poets and Ballard as just a few examples. Can’t wait to see what else the British Library has to offer this year!

Oop North – oops!

First of all, apologies for the delay in posting – I’ve been up north to Northumberland for a week as a little break before my PhD starts – I can’t believe I started this blog in April – poised in anticipation for the term to begin – it’s flown by, as clichéd as it sounds. I got a preview to the cold winds but rather glorious sunshine in a great holiday home overlooking the sea and managed to see some great sights in Almouth, Seahouses and Berwyck-on-Tweed (am guessing all these spellings btw). Loved Barter Books – the combination of fireplace, an onslaught of books and a train track that snakes through all the shelves – well, that’s me sold!

I’ll post up some pictures when I’ve got them off my phone – including broomstick training at Alnwick Castle. Also, I am writing a post on transhumanism due to an article I read in New Scientist (essential bathroom reading, haha!) and my long awaited review of the British Library event, Writing Britain. Thoroughly worth it!