literaturetimeline-teachersnotes - Timeline English...

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1 Timeline: English Language and Literature Teachers’ orientation guide Introduction to the interactive timeline This interactive timeline allows students to explore British Library collection items chronologically and thematically, looking at the evolution over the last thousand years of English literature and language. The timeline includes a diverse combination of texts, allowing students to contextualise literature both within the changing socio-historical landscape and in conjunction with the development of the language. Highlights include: Handwritten drafts of works by Dickens, Woolf, Wordsworth, Burns, Hardy and Charlotte Bronte. Items of historical importance that have a direct bearing on language change, such as the first book printed in English, the King James Bible, and the Kentish Homilies. Notebooks, letters and documents written by figures such as Captain Cook, Elizabeth I, Jane Austen and Charles Darwin. The first printed editions of Shakespeare’s Richard III , Fielding’s Tom Jones , Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and H G Wells’ The Time Machine . Illuminated manuscripts, musical scores, transcriptions, maps, illustrations, recipes, advertisements, and newspapers. Manuscripts of literary works from the period before printing, such as Beowulf , Gawayn and the Green Knight , and The Canterbury Tales . Defining works that mark the development of the English language, such as Swift’s Proposal , Johnson’s Dictionary , Walker’s Correct Pronunciation , and the Oxford English Dictionary . Major historical records, such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , Magna Carta, the Habeas Corpus Act, and a newspaper report of the Great Fire of London. Extended analyses of the processes of being a writer, ranging from a twelfth century scribe to William Blake, using video and audio.
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2 Items that explore the development of English as a world language, such as the Hobson-Jobson Anglo-Indian Dictionary , The Barbados Gazette from 1731, and Morris’s Austral English . Readings of works by Donne, Keats, Austen, Wilfred Owen and others. This selection of items is not intended to be at all comprehensive, but rather to give an idea of the how these texts were seen by the people who first produced or saw and read them; together they tell a variety of stories about how language and various genres of literature developed alongside each other. Users will be able to move between the three timelines – ‘ English Language and Literature Documents’, Literary Works’ or Letters Newspapers and Chronicle’ - or to combine them or show them simultaneously , allowing for comparisons to be made between aspects of social and political life, language change and literature within time periods and against key events. Scanning over a thousand years worth of texts, students will get a sense of the way printed matter has changed aesthetically over time. Alternatively, timelines can be created to explore diverse ideas such as the novel as social criticism, the growth of literacy, or women writers. Special ‘
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  • Summer '15
  • British Library, British Library website

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