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New exhibition to explore the inspiration behind British literary landscapes

  • Date: 2 March 2012
  • Area: London
A picture of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is among the authors featured in an exhibition at the British Library. Credit: Durham University/PA

A new literature exhibition in London is to document how British landscape has inspired classic authors to produce some of the best-known works of literature down the centuries.

Writing Britain: Wastelands To Wonderlands will be held between May 11 and September 25 at the British Library and is set to include works by seminal British writers, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Hanif Kureishi and Virginia Woolf.

As part of the London 2012 Festival and cultural Olympiad, the event views the impact of the countryside, industrialisation, rivers and seashores, London and suburbia on great works of literature.

Prominent among the exhibits will be a little-known chapter from Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, a story centred on Pan, the mythical Greek god of the wild, has been omitted from many previous editions of the children's classic, but will be featured as a hand-written version by author Kenneth Grahame.

Commenting on the exhibition, British Library Curator Jamie Andrews said: 'These rare and unique collections will help give a fascinating and new insight into the creative thinking behind iconic British novels, poems and illustrations.'