Monday, 12 December 2011

Early Victorian London

I caught the tail end of an interview Eleanor Wachtel, one of the treasures of CBC radio, had on Writers and Company with Claire Tomalin in anticipation of the bicentenary of the birth, and her new biography, of Charles Dickens.

Asked about her favourite Dickens book Tomalin avoided the issue, the first mentioned of several being Sketches by "Boz," Illustrative of Every-day (London) Life and Every-day People published between 1833 and 1836, so they're not strictly Victorian. The episode should be coming soon on iTunes. Read the book from here.

Only a few hours later I came across a review of The Blackest Streets: The Rise and Fall of a Victorian Slum by Sarah Wise on the Post It Notes from Hades blog. Persephone describes it as "a very readable account of the neighbourhood behind St Leonard Shoreditch which, for about one century, had the reputation of being the dirtiest, poorest, and most dangerous place in London," but only gives the book three stars out of five.

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