All great cities inspire great literature but no other city has so consistently stimulated the literary imagination as London. Over the centuries writers, poets, historians, artists, and simple observers have chronicled the life and growth of the capital from its humble beginnings to the teeming metropolis it is today. In his sparkling anthology Paul Bailey has captured the essence of its allure for visitors and inhabitants from the Middle Ages to the present day with wit, humour, and pathos. Among the many contributors are those whose evocations of the city have forever fixed it in the popular mind: Charles Dickens's descriptions of fog-bound London streets, the bustle and hustle of the Victorian city; Ben Jonson's satires on London low-life; William Wordsworth rhapsodizing on the view from Westminster Bridge; George Bernard Shaw's archetypal cockney, Eliza Doolittle...Less well known but equally vivid are descriptions of the down-and-out and the aristocrat, of the museums, theatres, galleries and churches, the restaurants and pubs, the parks and institutions, the topography of London mapped out in unforgettable verse and prose. The great set pieces - Daniel Defoe's description of the Plague year, John Evelyn's and Samuel Pepys's daily records of the Great Fire - are among several other eye-witness accounts of coronations and funerals, unequalled in their immediacy. The bemusement of foreign visitors, the joys and horrors of London buses and the London Underground, the sprawl of the suburbs and the excitement of the City, all add to the dazzling panorama. There could be no better introduction, and no better tribute to this fascinating city than The Oxford Book of London.
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Used availability for Paul Bailey's The Oxford Book of London
October 1995 : UK Hardback
June 1996 : UK Paperback