Literary London locations

A quick post to bring you the sterling literary work being carried out on the excellent blog Londonist.

Londonista Rachel H has been tracking down, mapping and photographing the locations of Londonist’s favourite novels, starting with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. Mrs Dalloway roams the streets of the capital, from her home in Westminster, on her mission to buy flowers and prepare for her party.

Imagine my excitement when the patron saint of Bloomsbury’s best London novel was succeeded by another (almost) Bloomsbury tale, Ian McEwan’s Saturday. Admittedly, McEwan has the disadvantage of living on the wrong side of Tottenham Court Road. But we’ll overlook that because Fitzroy Square is lovely, and close enough to wander around, book and camera in hand, checking that he’s got it all right.

I once attempted a similar project with the life and works of Charles Dickens. Rachel H, if you’re planning it, give up now. It would be quicker to map and photograph the few London streets not once occupied by the inimitable Boz. At first I thought it a strange co-incidence that I work in a building where Dickens once lived, live in a street a block away from a former Dickens residence, walk past another Dickens house on my way to the hairdresser’s. But no, the man was simply ubiquitous. A one-man blue plaque generator.

What literary London locations would you like to see mapped? I rather fancy tracking Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, from the opening lines in Lant Street, Southwark. Where Dickens once lived, naturally.



Filed under Books, Literary London

3 responses to “Literary London locations

  1. Frances H-B

    I’ve just spent a pleasant afternoon wandering around the Sloane Square area finding the streets mentioned in Anita Brookner’s “Falling Slowly. ” Feel sure I could do this with several other of her novels.

  2. If it hasn’t already been done, I’m sure you could create a collaborative Google Map type thing for people to mark literary locations. It could start with London, but given that Google has mapped the whole world, it could become a global project…

  3. Huzzah, glad you like! Oddly for a Londonista, I’m not a big fan of Dickens (I’ll leave stuff like that for M@). I have a few ideas for the third one, and I’ll add Fingersmith to that list…

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