Thursday, 9 February 2012

Walks with Dickens

A review of “Dickens’s London” by Peter Clark

On Tuesday I enjoyed attending the launch of Dickens’s London by Peter Clark at the bookHaus at 70 Cadogan Place, just behind Sloane Square, SW1X.

The cover of Peter Clark’s Dickens’s London

Peter Clark, a writer and translator who worked in Damascus for the British Council for many years, is “an authority on 19th century Britain” and his book guides readers on five walks around Central London inspired by the works of Charles Dickens, their settings and his life.

Author Peter Clark, © Amelia Wells

Published to coincide with Dickens’s bicentenary, this timely launch was held on a cold winter’s night in a small shop whose windows became heavily condensated as the guests packed in. As the wine flowed, Clark knowledgeably illustrated the character and haunts of the author of Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Pickwick Papers and Barnaby Rudge.

Perfect to fit into one’s pocket, for me, the most fascinating part of the book was naturally the section of Chelsea. Here, Clark reveals how Charles Dickens rented a house, that strangely does not bear a Blue Plaque, in the 1830s at 11 Selwood Terrace and married Catherine Hogarth at St Luke’s Church in 1836.

Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812 – 1870)

The author also recounts how Dickens based Bleak House’s Harold Skimpole on another associate, “the dilettante Leigh Hunt,” who lived at 22 Upper Cheyne Row. Hunt, Clark mentions, was “deeply upset” by the comparison.

Clark’s book has been described as “special and evocative” and it indeed provides the guidance for truly fascinating citywide strolls this coming spring.

Dickens’s London has a RRP of £9.99 but is available directly through Haus Publishing for £7.99. For more information, go to:


Henry said...

A fascinating sounding book. I'm off to buy a copy.

Zoe said...

A good read. I appreciated the tip and bought a copy. It was well written and I am taking my kids on one of the walks.