- Gebundene Ausgabe: 832 Seiten
- Verlag: Nan A. Talese; Auflage: First Edition (16. Oktober 2001)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0385497709
- ISBN-13: 978-0385497701
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,2 x 5,1 x 24,1 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 356.855 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
London: The Biography (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 16. Oktober 2001
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When the eminent novelist and biographer Peter Ackroyd finished writing London: The Biography, he almost immediately had a heart attack, such was the effort of his 800-page work about the "human body" that is this most fascinating of cities. And not just any human body either, but "envisaged in the form of a young man with his arms outstretched in a gesture of liberation... it embodies the energy and exaltation of a city continually beating in great waves of progress and of confidence."
Probably there is no one better placed than Ackroyd--the author of mammoth lives of Dickens and Blake, and novels such as Hawksmoor and Dan Leno and the Lime House Golem which set singular characters against the backdrop of a city constantly shifting in time--to write such a rich, sinewy account of "Infinite London".
Ackroyd's London is no mere chronology. Its chapters take on such varied themes as drinking, sex, childhood, poverty, crime and punishment, sewage, food, pestilence and fire, immigration, maps, theatre and war. We learn that gin was "the demon of London for half a century", and that "it has been estimated that in the 1740s and 1750s there were 17,000 'gin-houses'." Fleet Street was an area known for its "violent delights" where "a 14-year-old boy, only 18 inches high, was to be seen in 1702 at a grocer's shop called the Eagle and Child by Shoe Lane." By the mid 19th century "London had become known as the greatest city on earth." By 1939 "one in five of the British population had become a Londoner."
Though London's chapters vary meaning that it can be dipped into at random, Ackroyd is employing a skilful and continuous theme throughout, which constantly links past and present--the similarities of children's games in Lambeth in 1910 and 1999; the obsession with time--"in 21st-century London time rushes forward and is everywhere apparent", while in 18th-century London the church clock of Newgate "regulated the times of hanging." Above all, he insists that the "dark secret life" of the metropolis is as relevant today as it was in perhaps its most appropriate period, Victorian London.
Again and again Ackroyd returns to the image of London as a living organism, hence his use of the word "biography" in the title. At once awed by and intimate with this "ubiquitous" city, he stresses that "it can be located nowhere in particular... its circumference is everywhere." -Catherine Taylor -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
“Fizzles with vitality and originality” -- Sunday Times
“Marvellous – the book about London.” -- Daily Mail
“Peter Ackroyd was born to write the biography of London...A brilliant book.” -- Sunday Telegraph
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Hier erfährt man alles über London.... von der Gründung und noch davor bis, eine wenige Jahrhunderte später, zum Ende des letzten Jahrtausends.
Ackroyd schafft es die Geschichte einer der schönsten Weltmetropolen zusammen zu fassen, ohne das es langweilig wird. Man erfährt viele neue, interessante Dinge, die vielleich nicht jeder weiß, aber man vertieft auch das Wissen das man schon hat.
Also, für jeden Geschichtliebhaber oder London-Fan ein MUSS!
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As a Londoner permanently fascinated by my birthplace I started this immense read by dipping into aspects that first interested me, because the contents are conveniently arranged by subject area (theatre, architecture, etc.). Then I expanded my interests until, finally, I had read it all--at least at a superficial level. Only repeated readings will enable the reader to assimilate it as part of an individual intellectual landscape and memory. This is a veritable 'groaning board' of data.
Peter Ackroyd's scholarship is meticulous and results in a work of dense information matched by high levels of entertainment--he is an excellent writer. However well one might know individual aspects of London, there are constant surprises and insights that engage the curious reader.
This is not a tourist guide book, quite unlike the various 'London walks' offerings that are frequently delightful and helpful, but is the Ackroyd's attempt to explain the mystery of London over the centuries. It is a tribute to the immense effort he put into this work that it works well at many levels. His 'Essay on Sources' with which he closes the book is itself a mine of information and will send many readers scurrying to the bookshelf or library for further exploration.
For anyone with a love of London, this is essential reading.