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Literary Manuscripts

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Under the extraordinarily dynamic directorship of Sydney Cockerell from 1908 to 1937, the Fitzwilliam Museum acquired a remarkable collection of manuscripts and autographs associated with some of the towering figures of literature and art. These include the original draft of Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale and Thomas Hardy’s autograph manuscript of Jude the Obscure; Virginia Woolf’s hand-written draft of A Room of One’s Own followed soon after. An important and revelatory series of letters by Charlotte Brontë, autograph copies of works by First World War poets Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon, and extensive literary holdings from the Pre-Raphaelite circle and Arts and Crafts movement, all testify to Cockerell’s holistic vision of literature and the arts.

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