A few London Walks guides on their favourite Dickens…
David: Our Mutual Friend – perhaps his admiration for all things Thamesian (see his love letter to our mighty waterway in the London Walks book, London Stories) leads him to this choice.
Adam: Great Expectations. “Orwell wrote in 1940: ‘When Dickens has once described something you see it for the rest of your life.’ I first read Great Expectations more than two decades ago and still ‘see’ almost all of it vividly in my mind’s eye.”
Jean: Great Expectations “A rite of passage narrative, great characters and set in the landscape and time where my great great great grandfather was surgeon on the hulks.”
Alan: The Pickwick Papers. “Although Oscar Wilde's comment on Dickens is closer to my own. 'He must have a heart of stone who could read the death of little Nell without laughing.”
(Well, ‘e would say that, wouldn’t ‘e? He is, after all, the London Walks resident Wildean expert and guide.)
Ed: Barnaby Rudge. “A solecistic and sensationalised but sensational grip on the Gordon Riots.”
Richard: Little Dorrit. "Living in the area that Dickens knew as a boy and where the Marshalsea Prison is located my favourite novel has to be Little Dorrit. Walking home at night, in the little side streets, it is easy to imagine the little girl rushing towards the prison before she gets locked out for the night."
Richard IV: Oliver Twist. “Oliver Twist features the most vivid descriptions of a vanished London and a stunning blend of comedy and tragedy. Young Dickens will go on to write more accomplished novels, but none with more energy and passion.”
Don: Bleak House. "If only for the opening chapter of the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincolns Inn Hall in the fog of the English legal system."
POST UPDATED 4/3/16
This post first appeared in 2009 and features contributions from our much missed colleages Jean & Alan.
A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.