Jane Austen based on a portrait by her sister Cassandra.
When her contemporaries were engaging with European themes in their novels, Austen remained rooted in her home country.
A portrait of George Eliot at 30 by Alexandre-Louis-François d'Albert-Durade. Her masterpiece Middlemarch is often claimed to be the greatest novel in the English language.
Henry James called her a 'great, horse-faced bluestocking'. On the 200th anniversary of her birth, we celebrate George Eliot, a literary trailblazer with an endless appetite for ideas, living in a patriarchal time.
Currier and Ives 1875 print of Robinson Crusoe and his companion Friday.
Everett Historical via Shutterstock
Published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe was one of the first novels (in the modern sense) written in English. Some 300 years later, the complicated castaway and his misadventures continue to shape culture.
The Southern Ocean, as artists have uncovered, is also a treasure trove of cultural narratives.
Prismatic Jane Eyre/University of Oxford
What was a thoroughly English book has become a multilingual, ever-changing global text continually putting down roots in different cultures.
Nobody likes a plot-spoiler.
Game of Thrones © 2019 Home Box Office, Inc.
Even before blockbuster films and television, readers and writers hated reviewers plot-spoiling.
Children watch a performance of Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Cesare De Giglio/Shakespeare's Globe
Study uncovers what inner-city teenagers really thing about Hamlet et al.
Prize-winning author Andrea Levy was a strong voice for the Caribbean diaspora.
Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire/PA Images
Her novels and essays, especially Small Island and The Long Song, brought Britain's slave-owning colonial history home to ordinary Britons, black and white alike.
To imagine is to form a mental image, to think, believe, dream, picture.
The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley believed that we can exercise our moral imagination 'in the same manner as exercise strengthens a limb'. Here, then, are some tips for fostering empathy through art.
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If you are tired of A Christmas Carol, why not try one of the few Hardy stories where all's well that ends well.
Writing is a solitary art. But authors shortlisted for the Booker Prize have to perform in public. Here's how this year's crop fared.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, detailing the grim fate of Protestant clerics Latimer and Ridley, is one clue as to why Baldwin hesitated before publishing his irreverent book.
In the mid-16th century, William Baldwin wrote a satire on Catholicism but waited a decade before publishing it. Sensible man.
Olivia Cooke as Becky Sharpe in ITV’s Vanity Fair.
Mammoth Screen for ITV
Many viewers think that the recent adaptation of Vanity Fair plays fast and loose with Thackeray's novel. But the writer was surprisingly modern.
Shakespeare can survive a little chipping away at his 400-year reputation.
The socially and ethnically diverse working classes are not being heard. A recent project aims to change that.
Sharp-eyed Victorian writers exploded the myth of tranquil village life.
The ability to speak more than one language informs many writers of fiction, but analysis of Booker Prize shortlists suggests this is not so important any more.
Mondadori Publishing House/HAND/EPA
Whether you loved him or hated him, his canonical status is beyond question.
John Stuart Mill.
The great thinker left thousands of comments in the margins of his personal library. Now these are being digitised and catalogued.
Still from Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 film: Rebecca.
Once dismissed as a mere 'love story', Daphne du Maurier's masterpiece has transfixed generations of readers.