From the unique 10th-century manuscript of Beowulf to Sylvia Plath's poem "Ariel, " this beautifully illustrated book presents the panorama of more than 1000 years of literature in English through original manuscripts from the British Library's unparalleled collection. In addition to manuscripts of some of the most celebrated literary works in English, such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, the book reproduces poems, romances, short stories, novels, letters, and diaries by Malory and Shakespeare, Swift and Pope, Coleridge and Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas, to name just a few of the 100 authors here. Presented in large color reproductions, the manuscripts offer fascinating insights into the world of the writer at work and often reveal major corrections made in the course of writing. Chris Fletcher's engaging text provides an overview of each author's life, writings, and times and explains the significance of the manuscripts and their importance to understanding the works. From the grandest of narratives to the slightest of couplets, the manuscripts represented here provide a vibrant and immediate view of English literary history.