Image source: Flickr - Danielle D.
There are few cities in the world that have as an abundant a
literary heritage as London. Dublin, Paris and New York spring to mind, but no
other city has had its streets presented in as many ways as London has, its residents
from all walks of life analyzed, deciphered, and evoked in print. From lowly
street urchins to war heroes, the aristocracy to immigrants, each have had
their stories told by some of the greatest writers of the English language.
London is a veritable paradise for literature lovers, who are sure to find a
tale or two that they want to unravel in a visit to the British capital.
There is perhaps no author from the 19th Century that
captured London at the time quite as well as Charles Dickens. Many of Dickens’
masterpieces such as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Nicholas Nickleby are
set, at least partially so, in London. Dickens expertly addressed the social
issues of the day in his writing, painting pictures of all different stratospheres
of British society, from the rag tag group of pickpockets working under Fagin
in Oliver Twist, to the more affluent (although slightly insane) Miss Havisham
in Great Expectations. Visitors to the capital who are looking to delve deeper
into the world of one of Britain’s greatest novelists can visit the Dickens
Museum, a former residence of Dickens, and the abode in which he penned several
of his works.
221b Baker Street
The address 221b Baker Street is one that will likely be
familiar to literature lovers, as well as fans of one of the most popular
dramas on television at the moment. The home of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most
celebrated creation, Sherlock Holmes, 221b Baker Street is a very real
location, and also home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum; visitors can nose around
everything from Holmes’ study to his companion Doctor Watson’s bedroom.
For a more modern take on London, visitors can head to Brick
Lane, the setting of Monica Ali’s celebrated novel Brick Lane. More famous for
its curry than as a site for literature lovers, Brick Lane, in London’s East
End, is famous as being a center for Bangladeshi immigrants, as depicted by
Ali. You can’t look at London without noticing its multiculturalism and
acknowledging the various immigrant groups that have made the city their home
over the last century, and a visit to Brick Lane gives visitors a very real and
current idea of issues in today’s London, as well as a place to visualize it.
The Globe Theatre
Possibly the most famous figure in the entirety of British
literature, William Shakespeare is a huge draw for people visiting the UK, so
much so that there are blogs dedicated to Shakespeare related travel. Perhaps
the most well-known landmark in the UK when it comes to Shakespeare is the Globe
Theatre, located south of the River Thames. Shakespeare plays are brought to
life, with Antony and Cleopatra, Titus Andronicus and Much Ado About Nothing
being among the plays lined up to entertain lovers of The Bard in 2014.
What’s your favorite work of English literature?