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London's Literary Landmarks

Londons Literary Landmarks

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Shakespeare’s Globe

Carlyle and the London Library

Donne at St Paul's Cathedral

Shelley's House in Soho

Blake on Peckham Rye

Wordsworth and Westminster

T.S. Eliot (Faber)

Poets' Corner

Woolf and Bloomsbury Group

Dickens House

Doyle, Holmes & Baker St

Londons famous writers

Samuel Johnson wrote that "there is in London all that Life can afford." Certainly, since its foundation by the Romans in AD43, the city has provided the backdrop in front of which many of the great works of English literature have been composed. Occasionally the backdrop has protruded into the centre stage.

In London, the literary past is piled together like layers of an oil painting. On Borough High Street Southwark you can see the Tabard from where Chaucer's pilgrims began their journey in the Canterbury tales, and hardly a step away, Shakespeare's Globe dominates the skyline at Bankside. In Westminster Abbey, Edmund Spenser and Ben Johnson jostle for space with Rudyard Kipling, John Masefield, and Laurence Olivier. During its Bohemian eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Chelsea alone was home to Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, George Elliot, Christina Rossetti, Henry James, and Oscar Wilde. Thomas More lived in Chelsea during the sixteenth century, while John Osborne's Look Back in Anger was first performed there in the twentieth.

Other parts of London will be forever associated with Dickens, others with Milton, Pepys, Defoe Pope, Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Joyce and Woolf. Some are commemorated with statues, some by street art, some by plaques. Doubtless hundreds of literary stories still molder away beneath the foundation stones of high-street banks and cafes. Dickens was often disparaging about London, Oliver Twist was no exception. Nevertheless, he seems to get close to the nature of the English capital when he describes, "a stunning and bewildering scene, which quite confounded the senses."

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