Review: The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London, by Judith Flanders

Very complete and detailed is how I would describe this book. Flanders herself admits to “a lifetime of London-loving and Dickens-loving” and it shows in the detailed and frequent references to Dickens’ novels in her descriptions of 19th century London. It was a city that went from one million plus inhabitants in 1800 to 6.5 million in 1900 with six million houses built, as well as miles of new roads, shops, offices, railway and underground systems, sewers and water mains. Flanders matches up actual locations and historical events with scenes from Dickens’ novels such as the pauper burials in Oliver Twist that Dickens saw in a graveyard in the Chatham area of London. It is a world as far away and strange as any foreign country but at over 400 pages plus 100 pages of notes, allow yourself time for the journey.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: kh

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