Letters, lyrics and literature

View of the British Library's court yard. photo from LibraryThing

There’s something wonderful about walking 20 minutes and seeing a page of Shakespeare’s handwriting, the original score of Handel’s Hallelujah and the Magna Carta.

I started my last week doing something that I wanted to do since my fist day of arrival: visit the British Library.

This is the UK’s national library and lists over 14 million items in its catalog. The tour book recommends an hour to see the highlights of the library; I was there for three.

In the exhibit room, I saw religious artifacts such as the oldest bible in the world, scientific documents including a letter written by Darwin defending his theory on evolution, literary classics like the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf, as well as pop culture treasures like the handwritten lyrics of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles.

I was actually kind of surprised not to see something Harry Potter related, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before JK Rowling’s notes are inducted.

I was glad that I left this particular museum for last; it seemed an appropriate way to begin my last week at S&S where I’m surrounded by new manuscripts.  One of my favorite days at S&S was when I discovered the “Manuscript” folder on the desktop that contained all the manuscripts that had been published, are being published and will be published.  One day, one of those manuscripts may earn its way into this library.

After all, you never know what the next modern classic will be!

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