The British Library has just digitized 300 works from famous authors never seen before. This includes Virginia Woolf’s manuscript draft of Mrs Dalloway and an early travel notebook in which she begins to explore her ‘stream of consciousness’ technique and Sylvia Plath’s draft manuscripts of The Bell Jar and extracts from her diary.
The materials on Discovering Literature: 20th Century reveal the ways in which key writers of the 20th century rejected inherited traditions and experimented with new forms and themes.
Here are a few of the key things you can read for free on the British Library website
- Virginia Woolf’s manuscript draft of Mrs Dalloway and an early travel notebook in which she begins to explore her ‘stream of consciousness’ technique
- George Orwell’s notebook in which he lists ideas for what would become Nineteen Eighty-Four, including ‘newspeak’, ‘doublethink’ and ‘two minutes of hate’
- Ted Hughes’s manuscript drafts of Birthday Letters
- Sylvia Plath’s draft manuscripts of The Bell Jar and extracts from her diary
- Angela Carter’s manuscript drafts of Wise Children and The Bloody Chamber
- J G Ballard’s manuscript drafts of High-Rise, Crash and Empire of the Sun
- Hanif Kureishi’s manuscript drafts of My Beautiful Laundrette and The Buddha of Suburbia
- A letter from Virginia Woolf to James Joyce’s patron, Harriet Shaw Weaver, declining to print Ulysses
- A letter from TS Eliot declining to publish George Orwell’s Animal Farm
- A poem in which James Joyce attacks contemporary Irish writers
- A letter from Bernard Shaw to Sylvia Beach in which he gives his opinion of Joyce’s Ulysses: ‘It is a revolting record of a disgusting phase of civilization; but it is a truthful one’
- A review by Angela Carter of J G Ballard’s Empire of the Sun