London: A Literary AnthologyPopMatters gives us several more details:
Publisher: British Library Publishing
Hardback, 256 pages, 246 x 170mm, 30 black & white and 30 colour illustrations
Editor: Richard Fairman
'There's nowhere like London really you know', says Ginger in Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies. From the innumerable books written about London or set in the city, it would seem countless other writers agree. This anthology features a wide-ranging collection of poems and scenes from novels that stretch from the 15th century to the present day. They range from Daniel Defoe hymning 'the greatest, the finest, the richest city in the world' to Rudyard Kipling declaring impatiently, 'I am sick of London town'; from William Makepeace Thackeray moving among 'the very greatest circles of the London fashion' to Charles Dickens venturing into an 'infernal gulf'. Experience London for the first time with Lord Byron's Don Juan, and James Berry in his Caribbean gear 'beginning in the city'. Plunge into the multi-racial whirlpool described in William Wordsworth's Prelude, Hanif Kureishi's The Black Album and Zadie Smith's White Teeth. See the ever-changing city through the eyes of Tobias Smollett, John Galsworthy and Angela Carter. From well-known texts to others that are less familiar, here is London brought to life through the words of many of the greatest writers in the English language. (John L. Murphy)
Although the weather requires both rich and poor to bundle up, beneath this comparison, differences endure. Contrasts between the high and low life have long fascinated visitors. Consider Charlotte Brontë‘s protagonist from her novel, Villette: “I like the spirit of this great London which I feel around me. Who but a coward would pass his whole life in hamlets; and forever abandon his faculties to the eating rust of obscurity?” This lure draws millions, over centuries, from all over. Amazing diversity endures, with writing spanning the work of William Blake to that of Hanif Kureishi. London’s narrow streets never seem to empty.