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From the 10th-century manuscript of 'Beowulf' to the work of such 20th-century authors as T.S. Eliot, Ted Hughes and Angela Carter, this beautifully illustrated book presents a panorama of more than 1000 years of literature in English through original manuscripts from the British Library's unparalleled collections. Presented chronologically, the book describes the life and work of nearly 100 of the best-loved British writers, and reproduces manuscripts in their own hand. It includes such masterpieces of literature as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast and Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie. Whether written on parchment, vellum or paper, whether poems, short stories, notebooks, novels or diaries, these documents provide a unique record of the process of composition. Presented in large-format colour reproductions, they offer fascinating insights into the world of the writer at work and often reveal major amendments and corrections carried out during the course of writing. Chris Fletcher's engaging text explains the significance of each writer and the contribution the original manuscripts make to our understanding of the author and their work.