Discovering Literature

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By Catherine Redford

The British Library recently launched a new educational website, Jane Austen, by her sister Cassandra

Of the 22 authors covered, seven are women, and readers are able to explore the life, works, and contexts of Jane Austen, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Christina Rossetti, and Emily and Charlotte Brontë. The site is intuitive to use, and so it’s easy to locate relevant information, but it really comes into its own as a space to browse and explore. The biography of Jane Austen, for example, leads onto articles on Austen’s juvenilia; courtship, love and marriage in Austen’s work; and the impact of the Napoleonic Wars in Britain. The user can then look at a variety of high-quality photographic images of artefacts such as Austen’s needle case, browse the manuscripts of selected letters, and watch the videos ‘Jane Austen: Class and Marriage’ and ‘Jane Austen: Gender and Morality’.
Discovering Literature also includes a collection of teaching resources, including lesson plans on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion; Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ and ‘The Chimney Sweeper’; and Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’. While these downloadable PDF packs, aimed at GCSE and A-level students, are not suitable for undergraduate teaching, academics may well find them useful …read more