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.
One of the original plates illustrating the novel Pamela, by Samuel Richardson.
Etched by L. Truchy and A. Benoist after paintings by J. Highmore - Houghton Library
New forms of fiction and non-fiction writing told the stories of the plight of everyday working women at the hands of abusers.
Classic: an image from Ken Loach’s 1969 film, Kes.
The tragic story of a lonely, bullied boy who befriends a kestrel was an instant hit in the 1960s.
First letter and illustration from Father Christmas, 1920.
© The Tolkien Estate Ltd, 1976.
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote letters to his children from Father Christmas every year for 23 years. And they're filled with elves, goblins and playful polar bears.
‘Man Combating Ignorance’ – what’s science’s role?
Century of Progress Records, 1927-1952, University of Illinois at Chicago Library
There's no shortage of problems facing humanity. Science's role in how to tackle them has long been debated – including memorably by two of the 20th century's greatest literary figures.
The Times columnist's self-serving critique of one of the greats of English literature says more about his ignorance than anything else.
aradaphotography via Shutterstock
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove may not be the stuff of Orwell's dystopian nightmare, but they clearly know how to talk in 'doublespeak'.
Mark Morton / Flickr
Autumn is the first novel to tackle the UK’s impending departure from the EU.
A new film brings to life the murky underbelly of Victorian London.
Chawton House Library
Two women writers died in July 1817. One was Jane Austen. The other was much more famous.
Rachel, Daphne du Maurier’s enigmatic, modern heroine, played by Rachel Weisz.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The revered novel's enigmatic, modern heroine captivates and beguiles in a new blockbuster film adaptation.
James Patterson – one of the world's bestselling authors – may not principally be a writer.
William Shakespeare is a sometimes controversial figure in South Africa’s school system.
Most other African countries have a less fractious or problematic relationship to Shakespeare than South Africa does.
He was pigeonholed as a 'crime writer' but Dexter's intelligent style set him above the genre.
Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in Great Expectations (2012): the archtypal fictional spinster.
Grotesques, prattlers, hysterical women ... historically, spinsters have had a raw deal in fiction. But astonishingly, the situation for older single ladies in contemporary novels has scarcely improved.
Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility: a competent moral agent drawing only on her intelligence and experience.
Columbia Pictures Corporation
This year is the bicentenary of Jane Austen's death and her celebrity continues to grow. But relegating Austen's work to plots about 'whether the heroine gets her man' belittles her achievement.