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London has the greatest literary tradition of any city in the world. Its roll call of storytellers includes cultural giants like Shakespeare, Defoe, and Dickens, and an innumerable host of writers of all sorts who sought to capture the essence of the place.
Acclaimed historian Jerry White has collected some twenty-six stories to illustrate the extraordinary diversity of both London life and writing over the past four centuries, from Shakespeares day to the present. These are stories of fact and fiction and occasionally something in between, some from well-known voices and others practically unknown. Here are dramatic views of such iconic events as the plague, the Great Fire of London, and the Blitz, but also William Thackerays account of going to see a man hanged, Thomas De Quinceys friendship with a teenaged prostitute, and Doris Lessings defense of the Underground. This literary London encompasses the famous Baker Street residence of Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes and the bombed-out moonscape of Elizabeth Bowens wartime streets, Charles Dickens treacherous River Thames and Frederick Trevess tragic Elephant Man. Graham Greene, Jean Rhys, Muriel Spark, and Hanif Kureishi are among the many great writers who give us their varied Londons here, revealing a city of boundless wealth and ragged squalor, of moving tragedy and riotous joy.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)