Treasures of the Austrian National Library

State Hall Austrian National Library

It’s easy to see why the Austrian National Library in Vienna is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful libraries.Inside the central State Hall, frescoed ceilings soar above walnut bookcases, and marble columns frame the room. Home to more than 12.5 million books and artefacts, the Library’s history stretches back over 650 years. Its […]

Read More

Lady Mary Wroth and the literary world of Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place

From its enchanting state rooms to its landscaped grounds, Penshurst Place is steeped in literary history. Located in the idyllic Weald of Kent, this 800-year-old estate was home to one of the Jacobean era’s most prolific – and overlooked – women writers. Born in 1587, Lady Mary Wroth came from a talented literary family. Literary […]

Read More

Exploring the Penguin Classics series with Henry Eliot

The Penguin Classics Book Henry Eliot

For more than 70 years, Penguin Classics have adorned the shelves of bibliophiles across the world. From the tales of Ancient Mesopotamia to the poetry of World War One, the series brings together the best of classic literature. But with so many works to discover, it can be hard to know where to begin. Eager […]

Read More

Poets of the First World War

Remembrance poppies

The horrors of the First World War resulted in an outpouring of poetry. In their writings, soldier-poets including Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, describe the harrowing realities of war, from scenes of dismembered comrades to their subsequent psychological trauma. Surrounded by brutality, many poets filled their work with nostalgia for the people and places back […]

Read More

Exploring Dr Johnson’s House

Dr Johnson's House

Hidden amongst Fleet Street’s winding alleys is this characterful Georgian townhouse, the home of the renowned 18th century critic and writer, Dr Samuel Johnson. The great lexicographer lived here for a period of eleven years (c. 1748-1759),  during which time he compiled his masterpiece, A Dictionary of the English Language. A bustling intellectual hub, Dr […]

Read More

Anglo-Saxon Women: Wielders of Power

Whitby Abbey

Records from the Anglo-Saxon period largely depict the deeds of men, from the military successes of King Alfred the Great to the piety of Edward the Confessor. Yet, at a time when women were seen almost as commodities – whether as tools to strengthen political unions or child bearers – some managed to wield considerable […]

Read More

Unicorns in medieval manuscripts

Unicorn bestiary manuscript British Library Harley 4751 13 century

From Starbucks’s unicorn frapuccinos to unicorn beauty products, the mythical creature dominates popular culture. But, the sparkling and gentle animal that is portrayed today is a far cry from its earlier depictions. Ancient origins The first reference to the unicorn occurs 2,500 years ago in the work Indica, written by the Greek physician, Ctesias. A […]

Read More

London’s literary houses

Virginia Woolf house, 29 Fitzroy Square, London

The streets of London bear witness to the famous cultural figures, thinkers, campaigners and more who have lived and worked in the capital. Across the city, a series of coloured plaques bring to life the connections between specific sites and their notable inhabitants, along with the historical events and former buildings associated with a particular […]

Read More

Rare Botanical Books and Manuscripts

Medical Botany, William Woodville (1790)

Just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of London Victoria is the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley Library, an elaborate red-brick building with a rich intellectual heritage. Specialising in botanical art and garden history, the Lindley Library is a horticultural lover’s paradise, and contains a fascinating array of early printed books on gardening, […]

Read More

The origins of Gothic Literature

Henry Fuseli The Nightmare 18th century

From Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, to Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, explore the 18th century texts that have shaped the origins of Gothic Literature

Read More