The Black Cat Notebook
Published in 1905, the original Black Cat Book was a volume of children’s rhymes by Walter Copeland, teeming with black cats and kittens drawn by the English illustrator Charles Robinson (1870 –1937). The cats are restricted to the covers and endpapers in this notebook, leaving the lined pages free for your thoughts.
Lives in Letters
In chapters devoted to each monarch – Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I – this is a narrative account of the Tudor period, told through 42 letters and documents in the British Library’s collections. From Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s autograph inscriptions in a prayer book, to a letter from Elizabeth I to James VI of Scotland in 1603, each item is illustrated in colour, fully transcribed and accompanied by a commentary setting it in historical context.
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) is the first book in Martin Edwards’s ‘tale of the unexpected’: the story of crime fiction in the first half of the 20th century. Chosen as examples of the genre’s achievements (or limitations) and arranged chronologically, the books are by both little-known authors and the usual suspects such as Edgar Wallace, Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith and Julian Symons, whose novel, The 31st of February (1950), ends the story and points the ‘way ahead’.
Classic Werewolf Stories
From Leitch Richie’s The Man-Wolf (1831) to Running Wolf (1920) by Algernon Blackwood, this collection of twelve short stories and two poems shows the great literary versatility of the werewolf, with celebrated authors including WB Yeats, Kipling and Saki unable to resist the lure of the lycanthrope.
The Prisoner's Defence
and Other First World War Stories
PG Wodehouse, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Wallace and ‘Sapper’ (HC McNeile) are among the authors of the 15 short stories in this anthology. There are tales from both home and abroad, including Mary Borden’s story drawing on her own dilemmas as a French Red Cross nurse.
Persuading the People
British Propaganda in World War II
During the Second World War, the Ministry of Information (MOI) was created to issue ‘national propaganda’, including books, pamphlets, postcards and posters that would maintain morale at home and influence opinion abroad. In 2000, the Ministry’s archive of wartime publications was deposited in the British Library. Drawing on that material, and illustrating 139 examples, Welch’s book demonstrates the range and inventiveness of MOI’s output, whether mobilizing for war, promoting thrift and well-being, celebrating victories or rousing people against the enemy.
Night in the Front Line
and Other Second World War Stories
Written during or shortly after the war, these twelve short stories include Roald Dahl’s A Piece of Cake, based on his own experience as a Gladiator pilot in North Africa; Elizabeth Bowen’s famous story The Demon Lover; and The Disinherited by HE Bates, writing as ‘Flying Officer X’.
Lines in the Ice
Exploring the Roof of the World
Philip J Hatfield’s history of human engagement with the Arctic draws on the collections of the British Library and uses a great range of books, maps, photographs and prints to describe the indigenous populations of the region and their culture; European explorations, from the early voyages in search of a ‘Northwest Passage’ to 20th-century polar expeditions and scientific research; and the legacy of that history for the modern Arctic.
Fashion Illustration in Britain
Society & the Seasons
This well-illustrated book follows the history of fashion and the social calendar in Britain from the late 18th century to the outbreak of the Second World War, when intricately drawn fashion plates were gradually abandoned in favour of photography. Material is taken from the pages of fashion magazines, showing readers how to dress appropriately and stylishly at any time of year and for any occasion, ranging from weddings and funerals to sporting activities, and the making of morning calls.
A Literary History of Subversion and Control
Censorship targets speech and writing deemed to attack the state, corrupt morals or question religion. But whose morals, and which religion? Each chapter in this book examines the case of a work – many now considered masterpieces – that fell foul of the censors of the day, including Lady Chatterley's Lover , Ulysses, The Well of Loneliness, Lolita and The Satanic Verses. It is a history of texts and of those who would suppress them.
The Cat That Walked by Himself
and Other Stories
Here are four of the best-loved tales from the Just So Stories: after the cat ‘walking by his wild lone’, we find out How the Camel got his Hump, How the Rhinoceros got his Skin, and how the Elephant’s Child got his trunk as a result of his ’satiable curtiosity. The stories are faithfully reprinted with their original illustrations and Kipling’s illuminating captions. Age 8+
The British Library Stefan Zweig Collection
Catalogue of the Literary and Historical Manuscripts
From the age of 16, the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) was a passionate collector of literary and historical autograph manuscripts, and his collection of unique pieces included poems by Rilke and Baudelaire, drafts by Robespierre, Darwin and Dostoevsky and lecture notes by Nietzsche. The collection was donated to the British Library by Zweig’s heirs in 1986, and is catalogued in this volume with full descriptions, commentary and 74 reproductions of manuscript pages.
Alice's Adventures Under Ground
The Original Manuscript
In 1864, two years after telling young Alice Liddell the tale of the white rabbit, Lewis Carroll wrote down the story for her. In Carroll's hand and with his own drawings, that 90-page manuscript – the forerunner of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – is now one of the British Library's treasures. After an illustrated introduction by Sally Brown telling the story of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the Liddell sisters and the origins of Alice, this book presents a facsimile of the original manuscript.
Penguins, Pineapples and Pangolins
First Encounters with the Exotic
Nowadays, with the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, it is hard to recapture the sense of wonder felt by explorers when they first encountered animals and plants, people and customs, stranger than anything they could imagine. Generously illustrated with contemporary prints and woodcuts, this captivating book draws on accounts from Roman times to the 19th century to convey the amazement felt by Europeans when they first saw giraffes and bananas, Mongolian yurts and the statues of Easter Island.
Although denied the privileged status of men, medieval women had a great variety of roles and vocations, and their lives were shaped by many different geographical, political, legal and religious factors. This volume draws on the riches of the British Library’s manuscript collection to explore, through texts and miniatures, the diversity within medieval women’s experience. Whether aristocrats or servants, it looks at women in their roles as lovers, wives, mothers, intellectuals, women of God and patrons of literature.
Medieval & Renaissance Interiors
In Illuminated Manuscripts
Illuminated manuscripts are an invaluable resource for understanding medieval and early modern life in castles, palaces and ordinary households, both urban and rural. Reproducing 140 little-known illuminations, mostly from the British Library’s collections, this book shows how these miniatures reflect medieval domestic interiors and how they provide information on topics ranging from the security of dwelling places to creature comforts such as heating and lighting, hygiene, beds and bedrooms, and the display of wealth and treasured possessions.
A Literary Anthology
‘Histories’, wrote Alexander Pope, ‘are more full of the examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends’, and man’s best friend has a reputation for loyalty, companionship and playfulness. This collection of canine portraits from classic books will delight lovers of dogs and literature alike. Its vignettes range from Shakespeare to Dickens, from Mark Twain to Virginia Woolf, and from Dodie Smith’s Dalmatians to Jack London’s fearsome White Fang.
The Curious Map Book
The creation of maps is often a serious business in which accuracy takes precedence over the imagination. This delightful book offers 100 unusual maps, from the British Library collection, in which the equation is reversed and fantasy comes to the fore. Here are nations portrayed as humans or animals: the British bulldog, the ‘Lion of the Low Countries’, the Russian bear. Many satirize the politics of their time; some depict fictional countries; while others are board games or jigsaw puzzles.
Word, Symbol, Song
For more than a millennium, the peoples of West Africa have harnessed the power of words and images to build societies, communicate faith, and challenge injustice. Published to accompany a major exhibition at the British Library, this lavishly illustrated book explores the region’s written heritage and even older oral culture. Leading international scholars offer a unique insight into this rich tradition, and the current explosion of creativity in an array of media.
Shakespeare in Ten Acts
It is hard to imagine a time when Shakespeare was not considered a genius, yet over the centuries his plays have been banned, rewritten and mangled. This magnificent book charts their fortunes through ten key performances, from the original staging of Hamlet through Ira Aldridge’s 1825 appearance as the first black actor to play Othello, to Peter Brook’s legendary A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Over 100 illustrations from the treasures of the British Library include the only surviving playscript in Shakespeare’s hand.
The Second I Saw You
The True Love Story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner
In 2000 the British Library uncovered a cache of letters and a memoir documenting the previously unknown love affair between the First World War poet Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner, a passionate and unconventional young artist. Sensitively compiled from their own words, this book tells – for the first time – their tragic story of love, conflict and loss, and provides a revealing insight into the life of the poet against a backdrop of a world on the brink of war.
The Science and Showbiz of Hypnosis
An Olivier award-winning performer, accredited hypnotherapist and the first-ever artist in residence at the British Library, Christopher Green presents an illustrated history of hypnosis, covering both the reputable side of the subject – brain imaging, clinical trials, hypnotherapy etc – and the smoke and mirrors of stage ‘mesmerists’ and hypnotists. ‘I love hypnosis’, writes Green, ‘I don’t know of any other subject that is at once so erudite and yet so trashy’.
How to Skin a Lion
A Treasury of Outmoded Advice
This little volume draws on the accumulated wisdom of the British Library’s medieval manuscripts, Victorian manuals and early 20th century self-help guides to provide a wondrous rag-bag of information on matters as diverse as curing sea-sickness (the ‘cure’ includes tea and gingernuts); reading the future from coffee grounds; how to put back a dislocated jaw; and skinning the eponymous lion.
Bibliography of the East India Company
Contemporary Printed Sources 1786–1858
Following an earlier bibliography of books and pamphlets, 1600–1785, this volume continues Pickett’s history of the East India Company through contemporary printed materials with a chronological listing of items produced for or about the Company and its employees from 1786 to 1858.
Adventures in the Strand
Arthur Conan Doyle and the Strand Magazine
In 1891, the first issue of The Strand magazine appeared; it was an immediate and massive success, mainly due to the debut of Sherlock Holmes in its pages. In this study of the relationship between Holmes's creator and the magazine, Mike Ashley first sketches the early career paths of Conan Doyle, the publisher George Newnes and editor Greenhough Smith before exploring their extraordinary achievement and Doyle’s subsequent 40-year association with The Strand up to his death in 1930.
The Punch Brotherhood
Table Talk and Print Culture in Mid-Victorian London
Based on research among unpublished letters, diaries, minute books and business records, this study of Punch takes the reader inside the most successful and influential of comic magazines and brings to life the table-talk, jokes and gossip of its close-knit community of writers, artists and proprietors. Leary emphasizes the role of this talk in the understanding of 19th century print culture, shedding new light on the careers of Dickens, Thackeray and many other writers and journalists.
Dogs in Books
A Celebration of Dog Illustration Through the Ages
Featuring reproductions from rare editions in the British Library, this book surveys dogs in literature and how artists have interpreted them, from Cerberus guarding the gates of Hades in Homer's Iliad to Spot the Dog. Catherine Britton discusses the role of each dog and the authors and artists who created such memorable canine characters as Dogmatix from Asterix, the Hound of the Baskervilles and Lassie.
The Power of Script and Image
Hebrew manuscripts took on a special significance following the sack of Jerusalem in 70 CE, ensuring the survival of the language, faith and culture across the vast diaspora. The examples in this book - both sacred and secular texts - trace the evolution of format and style in a tradition which remained vibrant even after the advent of printing.
Horatio Lord Nelson
Horatio Nelson was undoubtedly Britain's greatest naval commander. Although his complex character often made him enemies and led to mistakes in both his public and private life, he was an unrivalled seaman, an original and brave tactician and a charismatic leader. In this volume, Brian Lavery describes a legend in naval history, from his first naval posting at the age of twelve to his heroic death at Trafalgar. Published in association with the National Maritime Museum.
Manners for Millionaires
Aimed at readers who still have fewer than 17 spare bedrooms, this satirical guide from 1900 explains the best ways to progress through the more elevated ranks of late-Victorian society. Its tips range from money-making schemes for paupers to the easiest means for the rich to rid themselves of those cumbersome spare millions. The book is surreally illustrated with woodcuts depicting (alleged) British fish.
The Curious Cookbook
Viper Soup, Badger Ham, Stewed Sparrows & 100 More Historic Recipes
This collection of 90 unusual recipes from historical cookery books includes some extraordinary dishes, such as Artificial Asses' Milk Made with Bruised Snails (1747) and Porpoise with Wheat Porridge (1450). Recipes reveal a lot about their time, and here a perceptive commentary discusses their social and economic context. A foreword by Heston Blumenthal sheds light on the way our cuisine is constantly evolving in response to trends and new ingredients.
The Roar of the Crowd
A Sporting Anthology
The anonymous 16th-century ode The Bewties of the Fute-ball gives us some insight into the early game, and Dickens's description of Epsom Downs Racecourse brings the bustle and excitement of Derby Day in the 1850s vividly to life. This literary collection selects the responses of celebrated writers, including PG Wodehouse, Walter Scott, Ernest Hemingway and Doris Lessing, to sports as diverse as cricket, boxing and fishing.
British Town Maps
Towns are complex, sophisticated creations that have stretched cartographers' ingenuity over time. Well-illustrated in colour, this book tells the story of the mapping of urban Britain from the late Middle Ages until modern times. Some of the maps it reproduces are well known, while others languished in archives until revealed by the 20 years of research on which this project, and the accompanying online Catalogue of British Town Maps, is founded.
The Publication of Plays in London
1660–1800, Playwrights, Publishers, and Market
Based on the Panizzi Lectures given by the authors at the British Library, this groundbreaking study concerns approximately 1,530 published plays that were professionally performed in London between 1660 and 1800. The book covers a host of ‘nitty-gritty issues’ within the realms of playwrights, publishers and readers, including costs and prices, formats, playwrights’ remuneration, editions, collections and reprints, and illustrations in play books.
Ride a Cock Horse
And Other Nursery Rhymes
Although best remembered today as the author of the Gormenghast trilogy, Mervyn Peake (1911–1968) was also a brilliant and prolific illustrator. This collection of nursery rhymes, first published in 1940, brings his dark magic to such perennial favourites as 'Rub-a-Dub-Dub', 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' and 'Little Jack Horner'.
Hidden Stories of the First World War
The Europeana 1914–18 project (www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en) encourages people across Europe to share family histories, documents and artefacts relating to the First World War, and has produced a host of valuable material revealing forgotten adventures, hardships, tragedies and romances. The 32 stories collected in this volume, drawn from Europeana and other sources, tell the tales of ordinary people caught up in great events, from a conscripted French pacifist to a Welsh soldier injured in the last days of the war.
The Magic of Birds
Celia Fisher's study of the ways in which birds have inspired artists, writers and storytellers is filled with glorious images of birds ranging from ancient Babylonian stone carvings to Audubon's The Birds of America (1827–38), and from paintings decorating the pages of the Sherborne Missal (c.1399–1407) to Arthur Rackham's illustrations for Some British Ballads (1919). Fisher explores this tremendous diversity of themes and approaches and presents reproductions of over 120 examples from across time and cultures.
Try It! Buy It!
Drawn from the unrivalled collection of the British Library, this collection of over 200 newspaper, magazine and poster advertisements, dating from the 1880s to the 1920s, celebrates the art and imagination of advertisers selling everything from Crane's liver pills and Scrubb's Ammonia ('try it in your bath') to ocean cruises. Among the long-forgotten embrocations and gas valves are brands that are with us still – among them, Pears' Soap, Marmite, Guinness and Bird's Custard ('makes children sturdy!').
Law, Liberty, Legacy
Granted by King John as a practical solution to a political crisis in 1215, Magna Carta has become a globally important document, as a resonant symbol of liberty and the rule of law. This volume accompanied the British Library's 2015 exhibition marking the 800th anniversary - the largest ever devoted to Magna Carta. Two original copies of the charter are featured alongside a host of documents and artefacts illustrating its legacy, from the 1534 English translation to modern political cartoons.