Bookmark: Invisible Cities #6 - Charles Dickens’ London
Umapagan Ampikaipakan, resident literary critic
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This week, on Invisible Cities, Uma takes you back to London. Because there’s just so much to see and do there. With Pepys and Conan Doyle, with Conrad and Orwell. You could take a saunter through its streets with Neil Gaiman and Ian McEwan and Zadie Smith. Or experience the diaspora, with the hundreds of Indian and Pakistani authors, the displaced Yanks, and Howard Jacobson’s Jews. This week, however, Uma want’s you to curl up with your favourite Dickens. London was, after all, his muse. Its vastness would inspire and challenge him, it would provide him with opportunity for both literature and adventure.
i. For a virtual walk through the streets of of Dickens’ London, you should check out the Dickens Dark London app by The Museum of London. It is both an interactive graphic novel and an audiobook drawn from a selection of his short stories featured in Sketches By Boz.
ii. BBC Arts has this fun flash game in which you have to dodge through Victorian London, avoiding the gangs and villains and trials and tribulations of Dickensian London in order to seek out Charles Dickens in his chalet hideaway in Rochester.
iii. For a proper, honest to goodness, biography of Dickens, you can’t go wrong with Claire Tomalin’s Charles Dickens: A Life. It is flawless in its historical detail, and acute on the novels. It is superb in the sense it gives us of the man himself.
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