Literature and the British Museum

Hello everyone, my name is Rory Sullivan, a junior here at the College. I am an English major, and my work this summer is research for my Honors Thesis, which is looking at the relationship between literature and the British Museum. The British Museum is an iconic institution of Western culture, making it a naturally attractive topic for literary figures. While the various writers work in different ways, for example Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem “The Burden of Nineveh” focuses on an artifact in the Museum, while Virginia Woolf ┬árepeatedly comes back to the Reading Room, generally the aims are the same. The Museum projects a certain British identity, and these writers interrogate it through writing.┬áMy thesis will uncover these thoughts, and articulate the different answers writers found to these questions, creating a better understanding of what exactly it means to be British through the Museum.

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