STUDENT BLOGS: Theatre in London: Sites, Sounds, and Situations
Flipping Through the Pages of History
by Vaughn Pollman
There is only one word that comes to mind in trying to describe the British Library: "astounding." I have never been an avid reader, but today I was floored by the historical significance of some of the pieces of literature that I encountered.
Although this is a rather un-academic approach, it is necessary for me to simply list some of the pieces which I saw today. Guided on a tour through the "Treasures" collection of the library, our group had a chance to view the original Beowulf; the original handwritten Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; the original libretto used in the first performance of Handel's "Messiah"; the written lyrics of the Beatles' "Yesterday" and "Help!"; a first edition print of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet; the Magna Carta; and an original Gutenberg Bible, to name a few.
The collection breathed history, and I was moved just to see the preserved pieces that have withstood the test of time, surviving battles, fires, and simple handling, this literature provided one of the clearest glances into the world's past. Just in this collection, I saw the impact of literature on religion, politics, pop culture, and society in general. This impact is important to be aware of, and today's journey put into perspective the significance of literature on the world in which we live.