English and Drama blog

03 September 2014

The Secret Life of Books (at the British Library)

A new series, which celebrates some of the most influential works of fiction, began yesterday evening on BBC Four.

‘The Secret Life of Books’ will examine original texts, manuscripts, letters and diaries to uncover the story behind the creation of six classic books. Look out for the British Library in the following six weeks of the series, as we examine Shakespeare’s First Folio with Simon Russell Beale (9 September), get an insight into Virginia Woolf’s writing of Mrs Dalloway with Alexandra Harris (16 September) and explore the childhood writings of Charlotte Bronte with Bidisha in the Jane Eyre episode (30 September) with my colleague, curator Helen Melody.

To mark the start of the series with the BBC, we opened up our doors and shot a special behind-the-scenes tour of of the Library's literature treasures for a short film on BBC Arts.


The first episode of ‘The Secret Life of Books’ was broadcast last night on BBC FOUR, and featured Great Expectations, presented by Tony Jordan.

For full programme details visit BBC Arts.

You can discover more treasures from the British Library’s literary collections, including works by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontës and many more, on our Discovering Literature website.


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