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Walking Literary London (Paperback)

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Travel P&S History > British History P&S History > Literary Figures World History > UK & Ireland > England > London

By Stephen Browning
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 100 mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399096874
Published: 6th March 2023


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London possesses a literary heritage which is unique and in large part unrivalled in any city in the world.

In this book, literary London is presented through its authors and literature: William Shakespeare, Andrea Levy, G.A. Henty, Geoffrey Chaucer, P.L. Travers, Samuel Pepys, Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens, Una Marson, Joe Orton, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Phillis Wheatley, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Katherine Mansfield, Harry Potter and Samuel Selvon to name just a very few. The text takes the reader on a series of walks, each of which is original and unique, the result of twenty years’ exploration of this wonderful city by the author. Detailed maps have been specially commissioned.

The text is accompanied by over 80 original photographs taken by the author.

In these pages you will find the details of hundreds of writers and their works; wherever you walk in the great city of London – even if solely in imagination from an armchair – the experience is going to be extraordinary.

I'm an English major and a frequent visitor to London who loves taking long walks around the city, so Stephen Browning's "Walking Literary London" seemed a perfect book for me. And although I haven't had a chance to try any of these walks out yet, even just paging through this book (and particularly through the walks involving Virginia Woolf , John Keats and Charles Dickens) has been a fun source of armchair travel and an enjoyable way to plan for my next visit.

NetGalley, Mary Becker

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I visit London often but there are times when I have been reading - Dickens and I think I would like to walk around there so now is my chance - and this guide sets out quite long walks but as it is London you can lunch stop off somewhere then continue.

The authors are varied and I was impressed the author has included authors like Zadie Smith along with Dickens, Conan Doyle and Virginnia Woolf to name a few and something for all readers.

A good find and recommended

NetGalley, jane brown

Literary connections with hundreds of writers – from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Joe Orton and Alan Bennet – are tracked in this excellent collection of London walks. Each walk is prefaced with a clear and up-to-date map, specially commissioned for the book, a list of the writers (and fictional characters) associated with the area to be explored, a realistic assessment of the time needed to complete the distance and the conditions likely to be encountered along the way – including spots where you can have a nice sit down.

The walks themselves cover a good range of distances: the stroll around the Trafalgar Square/Charing Cross Road/Soho area covers less than 2½ miles – taking in connections with Hogarth, Mary Seacole, Fanny Burney, Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Blake, among others. By contrast, a full day is recommended for the tour that takes in both St Paul’s and Southwark Cathedrals, Fleet Street and the Globe theatre, meeting Jane Austen, Lord Byron, John Keats and Sir Walter Scott along the way.

Shelley and Hogarth crop up again, along with Sir John Soane and Sir Joshua Reynolds, in a short but fascinating walk around ‘legal London’ – Holborn, Chancery Lane and the Inns of Court. And we meet Jane Austen (and Byron) again, along with JMW Turner, William Wordsworth and Olaudah Equiano on a tour of Westminster, Victoria and Whitehall. Beyond central London, numerous itineraries highlight areas north and south of the river, all with interesting literary connections. Well-illustrated with photographs, and supplemented by informative end notes, this is a terrific walking companion, packed with practical information and literary insights.

Jane Austen’s Regency World

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful book!

As a writer myself, I could not wait to put this book into action so, along with my husband, I walked one of the suggested routes. We made a weekend of the trip and enjoyed every moment of it.

Huge thumbs up to Browning for creating such a treat for authors and lovers of the written word everywhere.

Thoroughly recommended.

For The Love of Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is a book lovers dream. It was such a fun and interesting read and I have already visited some of the places and I cannot wait to visit some more.
I would highly recommend

NetGalley, Aria Harlow

Browning’s (Norwich in the Great War) latest book disrupts boundaries between past and present, fiction and reality, by creating a pathway for readers to travel beyond the borders of books. He takes them into what remains of authorial haunts, characters’ homes, and the streets, buildings, and landmarks made visceral in texts. This book mentions authors as different as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Blake, Rudyard Kipling, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and George Eliot. Rather than simply exploring sites text by text or with a focus on an author, literary movement, or time period, this is a fabulously nonlinear approach that layers the lives and literary productions of authors onto the landscape. With maps and time allotments for each walk, the book is a practical guide, ready for readers to slip into a carry-on or a backpack for easy access during a visit to London. Yet it also draws readers in for the stories, including summaries, biographical details, and anecdotes from authors’ lives, their characters’ adventures, and the pictures of the featured sites.

VERDICT Meant for travelers and general readers, this book belongs to adventurers of all sorts, whether on the road or in their minds.

Read the review here!

Library Journal

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a wonderful guide to my favourite city! I recently spent the day in London and took this book with me. How it transformed 2 of my routes whilst reading and seeing where famous authors have lived or where they have written or even eaten! A great guide that I will use over and over again

NetGalley, T B

London is a fascinating city and one of the best ways to see it is to walk it. This guide sets out lots of fairly long walks that the reader could take. I mention the length because even where there are not set places to take a rest, in most of the walks there will be pubs or coffee shops where you can stop. In fact, several of the walks can be split into two separate journeys.

It is a comprehensive book with authors of antiquity as well as some of the most modern ones. Needless to say, it does not cover all authors but it does a pretty good job with enough variety to please all sorts of readers. The blue plaques are often an indication that someone famous lived or worked in a location and the book uses them to help the walker find the locations of interest,

The author often suggests downloading a map from online or buying a mini London A-Z. Those A-Zs are great fun after the return home as it allows the reader to review the steps that they have taken. And make sure, if you do one of the walks with museums along the route that you save enough time to visit them. There are some wonderful ones that should not be missed. Four purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

Whether visiting London broadly or especially interested in exploring its literary heritage, Stephen Browning's Walking Literary London is a must-have companion. This guide chronicles London's literary landscape past and present through maps, photos, and a plethora of cultivated history by Browning, a resident bibliophile whose love of local history fills these walks. With one foot in London's reality and the other in the worlds constructed by writers across the world, one can explore the nonfiction and fictional facets of literary London at once. Whether you love Paddington or Winnie the Pooh, Dickens or Bernardine Evaristo, there is a walk in here for you.

Rather than simply offering a blueprint of where to walk and what to see, Browning's knowledge of the history of London's literary world, both reality and fictional worlds situated in the city, allow you to explore the city narratively. I especially love the variety of structure in his guide. On the extremely guided end, there are walks created to maximize literary intersection with descriptive maps. However, the tail end of the guide includes overviews of general neighborhoods and their complete offerings to allow you to build-your-own-adventure if you so choose. His constant references to other walks helps link similar thoughts and interests, allowing you to construct your own story of beloved figures and their whereabouts.

As a theatre lover myself, I was especially drawn to the inclusion of the overlap between the literary and theatrical worlds. Shakespeare is of course a feature, but I also loved the inclusion of lesser-known playwrights like Joanna Baillie and Joan Littlewood, where the symbiosis between the page and the stage is on display.

Admittedly, this guide is more fruitful for fellow wordsmiths and avid readers, as it is in-depth and relies heavily on an appreciation for books. However, I think its informative nature allows for it to be a wonderful travel-and-learn for anyone willing to engage with its language!

NetGalley, Ally Varitek

I loved this book - it was so much fun to explore London with. The book was very logical and well though out. A true gem.

NetGalley, Nadine Rizvi

Great cover on this book.

Walking Literary London by Stephen Browning is a must-read for any bibliophile or anyone planning to visit London. The book presents London's unique literary heritage through the works of famous authors like Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Dickens, to name just a few. The author takes the reader on a series of original and informative walks that are the result of 20 years' exploration of this wonderful city.

The book also includes detailed maps and over 80 original photographs taken by the author. Each walk is set up very well with information about its length, conditions and a list of people and characters connected to it. This makes it easy for the reader to choose their preferred route based on their ability and interests.

What I love most about this book is how it immerses you in London's vibrant literary scene. Whether you're walking through bustling streets or exploring quiet neighborhoods, you'll learn fascinating stories about places that have inspired many great works of literature.

Overall, Walking Literary London is an informative and useful guide that will make your trip to London extraordinary. It's perfect for anyone who loves literature, history or simply exploring new cities. With its beautiful photos and fun writing style, this book is sure to be a hit among readers of all ages!

NetGalley, The Sassy Bookworm

A very enjoyable book of literary-focused walks in London. I enjoyed the anecdotes about the various authors and writers covered on the walks, and also really liked that fictional characters are included. As well as a walking guide, it contains interesting information about London's literary history. I like that maps and photographs are included for each walk too.

NetGalley, Sinead C

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Do you want to walk in the footsteps of Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Virginia Woolf? Now you can! This excellent book provides lots of anecdotes about famous London authors, as well as details about several walks, accompanied by photographs. The length and difficulty of each walk is described, as well as ‘watering places’ along the way.

This is a great guide for any book-lover to take on a trip to London. I am especially keen on testing the walks in Bloomsbury.

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is such a fun and informative book -- the author does a fantastic job giving details and photos of walks around London's different neighborhoods. I am definitely going to bring this book with me on my next trip to London and even enjoyed reading it without being there! There are lots of great stories about the authors and for each walk he describes the length and difficulty. Until I can travel to London, this book has also helped me identify authors I want to read before my trip. I very much enjoyed this book.

NetGalley, Ann Manikas

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting book, love reading all areas we have all read about and now able to imagine being within the books we all have read
Unusual book but great book.

NetGalley, Karen Bull

This book is exactly as described. Included are 11 London walks that offer pedestrians glimpses of this most literary of cities. Each walk highlights both fictional and actual figures. For example, walk 5 includes Pall Mall, Picadilly and Mayfair. A few of the streets in this walk include St. James Street, Berkeley Street and Bruton Street, among others. Mention is made of those who belonged to the Reform Club including Anthony Trollope, Arnold Bennet, Conan Doyle, Thackeray and others; that is just one of many neighborhood stops.

There are photographs and maps for each walk. I also really liked that walking conditions are noted.

Both real and virtual travelers will be impressed by the rich history that is revealed in these pages.

NetGalley, Joyce Laudon

Walking Literary London by Stephen Browning is a well written and researched book.

I enjoyed reading this book and it would be good to follow the walks to see the various places which he talks about in the book. I did feel a bit overwhelmed at the start of each walk when he listed the lives and characters you would come across in it.

I liked seeing the maps which were clear and easy to follow as well as his instructions for seeing all the sights. The author has obviously spent a great deal of time researching each of the 11 walks and there is a great deal of information about each in the book.

NetGalley, Hazel Thomson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An absolutely wonderful guide to all things Literary in London set up as walking trips ranging from a few hours to a full day, visiting areas where authors have walked, lived, eaten, etc. If I am ever lucky enough to travel to London I will definitely have this book with me!

NetGalley, Melissa Borsey

This is my second book this month that discusses literature in a particular city. The first one was New Orleans. This one was equally engaging and interesting to read about. Any bibliophile will want to read this while planning a trip to London.

NetGalley, Jennifer Hazen

Whenever I read books like this I always end up using street view on maps so I can preview where the buildings are. London has always been a main character for so many novels since their inception, we all know it, even if we haven't been there, this book explores the places and streets where authors placed their characters. A great book for those who want to wander in the footsteps, each walk is mapped and timed and gives you a sense of buildings. Although London is changing rapidly and is not the one that say Dickens would know now, it's good to be able to place and visualise the events and stories. If you can't get to London use street view and spend an afternoon meandering through London remotely. However if you have time and want to explore use this book as reference as it'll give you a different view of London.

NetGalley, Kate Jackson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful, informative, and fascinating book about walks to take following routes related to literature. I can’t wait to get to do some of these some day.

NetGalley, Jenna Gareis

I often use novels as a guide when I visit a city. There's a lot of possible inspiration in London and a lot of books.
This is an informative and useful guide.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Not since an art lovers’ guide to Paris have I wanted to use a travel book so much. This would be a fantastic and fun guide to use. I really like how the distances vary throughout. There are 1.5 mile walks and some almost six. I thought there would be maybe 5-10 stops and authors, but some look like they have 60 authors, books, and settings. This would be so much fun for a book enthusiast.

NetGalley, Keith Lewis
 Stephen Browning

About Stephen Browning

Stephen Browning is the author of the highly acclaimed studies The World of Charles Dickens (Halsgrove 2012) and On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes (Pen and Sword 2022). His first book was a collaborative project with a dozen other students whilst at the University of Kent, Canterbury for the Disabled. He now lives in Norfolk where he has written several books about the county, some of which, including Visitors’ Historic Britain: Norwich and Norfolk, Stone age to the Great War (2020), have been published by Pen and Sword. He has co-written several books aimed at helping young people and professionals master the English Language in China and East Asia: two of these have won ‘No 1 Book of the Year’ awards from the Library Service in Taiwan.

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