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Have you ever ventured into the Octagon, which used to be the Queen Mary library, for meetings or lectures and has your eye started wandering around the room? In doing so your gaze may have rested on several busts clinging to the edge of life on the balcony, looking down on us. A blog series by Special Collections Information Assistant Anne Marie McHarg.

Illustration of octagon library surrounded by eight busts

Illustration of Octagon Library surrounded by the eight busts [Ref. QM SB 13/63]

Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Dryden, Samuel Johnson, William Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron. These eight illustrious writers of English literature have one thing in common: they are all dead poets that are buried, or have a commemorative plaque, in Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey.

In the base of the dome etched in gold plated are the names of eight Greek and Roman philosophers and poets that lived in the ancient world, whose works are still read today. Aeschylus, Aristotle, Homer, Pindar, Plato, Sophocles, Socrates and Virgil.

Let me open a book and turn a page or two and introduce you to some hidden gems...

In the coming weeks our Special Collections librarian Anne-Marie will be introducing you to each of the writers in a new blog series. 



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