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Keeping it in the Family: British and Irish Literary Generations, 1770-1930

Exhibition and free guided tours

Keeping it in the family_tree

Not every great writer is a solitary genius. As a child, Charlotte Brontë created the imaginary world of Angria with her brother Branwell. William Wordsworth borrowed from his sister Dorothy’s diary to create one of the most famous poems in English. Long before Charles Darwin studied the fertilisation of orchids, his grandfather Erasmus wrote poetry about the loves of plants. Dante Rossetti created lavish illustrations to accompany his sister Christina’s volumes of poetry.

These are some of the relationships explored in Keeping it in the Family: British and Irish Literary Generations 1770-1930, an exhibition highlighting the role of family in creative production in nineteenth-century Britain and Ireland.

Items on display include early editions from S.T. Coleridge, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Virginia Woolf; a letter from Charles Darwin; an 1899 edition of Rudyard Kipling’s The Second Jungle Book with illustrations by his father; and Lady Jane Wilde’s 1864 Poems, written under the pen name ‘Speranza’ and dedicated to her sons, Willie and Oscar.

The exhibition also showcases famous British families with New Zealand connections. Descendants of Scottish writers Robert Burns and James Hogg settled in Dunedin; Matthew Arnold’s brother Tom published an account of his 1847 visit to Otago; and George Kingsley (father of the famous African explorer Mary Kingsley) wrote of his anticipation at seeing a kiwi for the first time.

Keeping it in the Family: British and Irish Literary Generations 1770-1930 is co-curated by Dr Thomas McLean and Dr Ruth Knezevich (Department of English and Linguistics) and made possible by the generous support of the Royal New Zealand Marsden Fund. It includes works from the Dunedin Public Library, the Hocken Library, and the University of Otago Special Collections.

Please do come along and visit the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago Library, 1st Floor.

Free guided tours

Free guided tours will take place every Thursday at 1pm from 5 January 2017.  The curators will meet you outside the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, 1st Floor, University of Otago Central Library. All are welcome.

Date Monday, 19 December 2016 - Friday, 17 March 2017
Time 8:30am - 5:00pm
Audience Public
Event Category Humanities
Event Type Exhibition
DepartmentEnglish and Linguistics
Locationde Beer Gallery, Special Collections, Central Library
Contact NameDr Thomas McLean and Dr Ruth Knezevich
Contact Phone64 3 479 8635

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