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

9 December 2016 - 17 March 2017

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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. The exhibition runs from 9 December 2016 to 17 March 2017 in Dunedin at the
de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago.

Items on display will 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 will also showcase 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 made possible by the generous support of the Royal New Zealand Marsden Fund. It includes works from Dunedin Public Library, the Hocken Library, and the University of Otago Special Collections.

Time: 8.30 to 5.00 Monday to Friday

For further information, please contact Special Collections Librarian Dr Donald Kerr (donald.kerr@otago.ac.nz) or co-curators Dr Thomas McLean (thomas.mclean@otago.ac.nz) and Dr Ruth Knezevich, (ruth.knezevich@otago.ac.nz

de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago Library, 1st Floor


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