The first tranche contains early works of the Brontës, the press coverage of Oscar Wilde’s first literature attempts, along with the greatest Victorian and Romantic masterpieces, which all make it being the largest digital English library
The British Library made a decision to publish 1,200 of its “greatest literature treasures” to the Internet to create the greatest digital English literature resource. Among the works to be published are the earliest known work of Charlotte Brontë – a short story she wrote for her sister Anne, and the first responses to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Having got the results of more than 500 English teachers’ survey, who mentioned that 82% of all secondary school students have difficulties with classic authors identifying, the British Library made a decision to add the Victorian and Romantic section to its new Discovering Literature website. The service enlisted the support of such organizations as the Brontë Parsonage Museum and Keats House, thereby it received rare and valuable manuscripts and grammar books from such authors, as Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Austen, Dickens and Wilde. Besides, the site features with writers’ diaries and letters, which, taken with the newspapers and photographs of that times, will make it possible to present the period the writer lived in. Among other books there are many manuals and grammar books famous writers used while studying. Organizers keep in secret who was the owner of the core grammar for lawyers’ book and promise to leave prompts to help visitors to guess.
To help teachers to arouse young people’ interest in the classic English literature, the site will be replenished with works from the Beowulf’s period until the present time. According to the ComRes survey, 76% of polled teachers consider that their students face with the difficulties in perceiving the classic authors as “real people”. Probably, that’s why 82% of all respondents say that the site will inspire young people with the aspiration for the classic English literature studying.
Roger Walshe, the head of public engagement and learning at the British Library, pointed that while reading the original writing and manuals of famous works, modern readers “can bring to life a novel or poem written centuries ago”.
According to education minister Elizabeth Truss, the new project – the Discovering Literature service, will help to implement the new curriculum by “helping to bring into life some of the greatest pieces of literature of our times such as Oliver Twist and others”.