Anna Quindlen first visited England's capital from a chair in her suburban Philadelphia home Ã�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â� in one of her beloved childhood mystery novels, which inevitably ended up in a cozy London flat. Quindlen has been back to London countless times since, through the pages of books and in actuality. Now, in Imagined London, she takes her own readers on a tour of this greatest of literary cities.
From Dickensian London, rich with foggy alleyways and rife with pickpockets, to the London of Conan Doyle and Margery Allingham, with its detectives and crowded train stations, Quindlen gives readers a lovely and sharp-eyed view of the city based on her own detailed literary map. She tracks the footsteps of her favorite fictional characters; the places where Evelyn Waugh's bright young things danced until dawn, or where Lydia Bennett eloped with the dastardly Wickham. Here is where Oliver Twist sought his fortune, and where Bill Sykes met his demise.
In Imagined London, Quindlen walks us through the city, moving within blocks from the great books of the eighteenth century to the detective novels of the twentieth to the new modernist works of the twenty-first.
While New York, Paris, and Dublin are also vividly portrayed in fiction, it is London, Quindlen argues, that has always been the star, both because of the primacy of English literature and the singularity of the city.
With wit and charm, Imagined London gives this splendid city its full due in the landscape of the literary imagination.
First published 2004.