Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination @britishlibrary

Terror and Wonder by Dave McKeanThis British Library exhibition which started yesterday 3rd October and runs until 20th January 2015 looks stunning.

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination is the UK’s biggest ever Gothic Exhibition. “Two hundred rare objects trace 250 years of the Gothic tradition, exploring our enduring fascination with the mysterious, the terrifying and the macabre. From Mary Shelley and  Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick and  Alexander McQueen, via  posters, books, film and even a vampire-slaying kit, experience the dark shadow the Gothic imagination has cast across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and our daily lives.  (The image is from the book by Dave McKean)

Beginning with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Gothic literature challenged the moral certainties of the 18th century. By exploring the dark romance of the medieval past with its castles and abbeys, its wild landscapes and fascination with the supernatural, Gothic writers placed imagination firmly at the heart of their work – and our culture.

Iconic works, such as handwritten drafts of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the modern horrors of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and the popular Twilight series, highlight how contemporary fears have been addressed by generation after generation.

Terror and Wonder presents an intriguing glimpse of a fascinating and mysterious world. Experience 250 years of Gothic’s dark shadow.”

Book here

British Library’s literary treasures go online

Earliest known writings of Charlotte BrontëThe British Library has created an online collection of literary treasures and scholarly articles via its new website, Discovering Literature, in a bid to increase the young people’s interest in classic books.

 The new project covers the Romantic and Victorian periods, from William Blake to the science fiction of H G Wells, with the British Library aiming to extend the collection up to present day authors and as far back in time as the Old English epic Beowulf.

 Jane Austen’s notebooks, the childhood works of the Brontë sisters, manuscripts by Keats, Wordsworth and many others plus intriguing early drafts of William Blake’s classic poems ‘Tyger Tyger’ and ‘London’ are amongst the items digitised.

Over 150 articles and 20 short films have been commissioned from experts to illuminate the society and cultural scene behind the literature. These focus both on individual authors and broader topics and are brough to life with  newspaper clippings, playbills, artworks and other contemporary material.

 The article on Crime in Oliver Twist, for instance, uses an 1809 Dictionary of Criminal Slang to reveal that “twist” was a word for “hanged”, while the article on Inventing the Future uses satirical cartoons and works such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to explain how the the Industrial Revolution’s technological advances inspired nineteenth century writers to set their novels in the future.

From the Telegraph