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British history

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London

 
 
Author
Judith Flanders.
Publisher Thomas Dunne  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
ISBN 9781250040213
Pages/Publication Date 520/2012
Daedalus Item Code 71075
List Price: $27.99
Sale Price: $6.98
You Save: $21.01
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The author of The Invention of Murder here gives us a revelatory portrait of everyday life on the London streets that Charles Dickens knew. The 19th century was a time of unprecedented change, and the capital grew from a compact Regency town into a sprawling metropolis of 6.5 million inhabitants—the largest city ever seen. Railways, street lighting, and modern sewers transformed both the city and the experience of city living, and from the moment Dickens arrived in 1822, he recorded its pleasures, curiosities, and cruelties. From the colorful cries of street-sellers to the jolting reality of travel by omnibus—and the many uses for the body parts of dead horses—Judith Flanders leads us through the markets, slums, alleys, cemeteries, gin palaces, chop-houses, and entertainment emporia of Dickens's London.

"Flanders uses secondary historical sources alongside Dickens's own impressions of the city to take us on a dazzling journey through an imperial city plagued by poverty and deeply divided by class.... Flanders must be given credit for doing an astounding job of recreating every nook and cranny of London in this richly detailed compendium. Shying away from academic pretension, Flanders tells the epic story of this biggest and boldest Victorian city in all its complexity, with verve, color and a straightforward approach to language that still manages to give a voice to ordinary Londoners something Dickens would no doubt approve of."—NPR

"A well-stuffed compendium on the transformational era in the history of London that fed both Charles Dickens' imagination and his well of outrage.... Flanders writes with bubbling enthusiasm about the old markets, Covent Garden and Smithfield, with their accompanying din and smells, and the plethora of life we only know through Dickens' eyes: the street vendors and artists, matchstick sellers, slum dwellers, prostitutes, habitués of gin palaces and prisoners. A terrific companion while reading Boz himself."—Kirkus Reviews

"Flanders successfully recreates the feel of London at Dickens's peak as she delves deep into the rhythms and architecture of particular neighborhoods.... Flanders's expertise shines when exposing Dickens's embellishments, particularly when his character Fagin faces execution rather than the less powerful but more realistic punishment of deportment. This well-researched sociological overview provides highly detailed context for cultural touchstones, while shattering the popular yet inauthentic image of a pristine Victorian age that never existed."—Publishers Weekly

 
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