British Identity in 50 Documents with Dominic Selwood

Join us here live: Thursday 11 November, 19:30 - 20:30.

Join historian Dominic Selwood for a vivid exploration of how treasures from the British Library’s collection reveal the changing identities of Britain.

In this colourful talk — based on his new book Anatomy of a Nation: A History of British Identity in 50 Documents — Dominic Selwood delves into a kaleidoscope of documents from the British Library’s unique collection to assemble the story of how Britain evolved through the classical and medieval worlds to the modern day.

Some documents are familiar, like the mesmerizing musical rhythms of Beowulf, the jewel of Anglo-Saxon poetry that survives in just one slightly burned copy. Others are less so, including the irate bull of Pope Innocent III excommunicating anyone who obeyed Magna Carta for the sin of rising against an anointed king. Some are more personal and subtle, like the first Valentine’s letter, sent in 1477 by an amorous Norfolk woman anxious at her modest dowry. While others speak to the nation, like Vaughan Williams’s 1921 score of The Lark Ascending, a visceral reaction to his experiences in the trenches of World War One, and now a forlorn reminder of the carnage later generations have inflicted on the countryside’s once musical and colourful biodiversity.

Weaving these evocative documents together, Dominic uncovers a Britain we have never seen before. People are at the heart of the story: a female charioteer queen from Wetwang, a plague surviving graffiti artist, a drunken Bible translator, outlandish Restoration rakehells, canting criminals, the eccentric fathers of modern typography and the bankers who caused the finance crisis.

Speakers

On This Day She: Putting Women Back Into History One Day At A Time

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This event took place on: 8 February 2021.

Join writers and co-founders of @OnThisDayShe, Jo Bell, Tania Hershman and Ailsa Holland as they celebrate the release of their new book and some incredible women from history.

@OnThisDayShe was launched on Twitter in January 2018 with one aim: to put women back into history, one day at a time. Women from across the world, across all time periods, from arts and sciences to politics, war, journalism, crime and invention. Featuring a different woman every day, not necessarily on her birthday or the day she died but on a day that was important to her. The day she qualified as the first doctor in her country, say, or she patented her first invention. Now with over 27,000 followers, Jo, Tania and Ailsa release their accompanying book, exploring intriguing topics and issues from wearing trousers to the language of history, the importance of tea, and even public toilets for women. With plenty of incredible facts, we share the stories of some important and influential women from history. Introduced by Isobel Church, the actor who voices the On This Day She audiobook.

This event celebrates Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights, a UK-wide exhibition by the British Library and public libraries. Event hosted in partnership with Warwickshire Libraries and the West Midlands Readers' Network.

Order your copy of 'On This Day She' by clicking <a href="http://hyperurl.co/OTDS" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>

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