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Keeping It In the Family: Special Collections Exhibition


Mon 13 Mar 2017, 8:30am–5:00pm
Tue 14 Mar 2017, 8:30am–5:00pm
Wed 15 Mar 2017, 8:30am–5:00pm
Thu 16 Mar 2017, 8:30am–5:00pm
Fri 17 Mar 2017, 8:30am–5:00pm

Where: University of Otago Library, 65 Albany St, Dunedin, Otago

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Keeping it in the Family. British and Irish Literary Generations 1770-1930, Co-curated by Drs Tom McLean and Ruth Knezevich, University of Otago

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.

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.

New Zealand (and Dunedin) is not forgotten. Famous British families with New Zealand connections on show include descendants of Scottish writers Robert Burns and James Hogg (who 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 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.

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