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Explore literary treasures, everyday ephemera, and the complex history of the English language, with unique texts from the British Library.
Our new English Literature website, Discovering Literature, is now live: discover 1,200 Romantic and Victorian literary treasures, new insights by 60 experts, 25 documentary films, 30 inspirational teachers’ notes and more.
Unique audio recordings and film footage of children's games from 1900 to the present day.
Enter Playtimes: A Century of Children's Games and Rhymes
Travel through the country in this website, and discover the UK’s rich landscape of diverse accents and dialects.
Poetry & Performance
Listen to well-known actors performing poetry by some of Britain and America’s most distinguished poets.
See how the English language has been altered, expanded, subverted and experimented with for hundreds of years.
Explore the evolution of English language and literature, from the 11th century to the present day.
Enter English Timeline
Dickens in Context
View rich original source material to explore the social and historical context into which Dickens’s novels were born.
Books for Cooks
Rifle through six hundred years of recipes and remedies, from medieval potions and pies to 1920s cocktails.
Texts in Context
From recipes and adverts to logbooks and songs, explore the many ways in which language is used and produced.
Dictionaries and Meanings
Trace the history of dictionaries, from scoundrels’ slang books to Caribbean lexicons.
From Shakespeare to Alice, take a tour of some of the British Library’s finest literary treasures.