- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Verso; First Edition edition (March 24, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1781687951
- ISBN-13: 978-1781687956
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,490,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London Hardcover – March 24, 2015
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“A wonderful book, that has many fascinating things to say about the night-time life of our capital down the ages. Rarely has a book on the subject of darkness been so illuminating; all insomniacs should read it.”
—Ian Thomson, Evening Standard
“An enthralling study of city life and creativity … impressive, magisterial … A copy of Nightwalking should be the indispensable handbook for creative writing classes from Ayrshire to East Anglia.”
—Robert McCrum, Observer
“Part literary criticism, part social history, part polemic, this is a haunting addition to the canon of psychogeography.”
“An important and lively book.”
—Times Higher Education
“A lively and learned study … a book that remains personal in tone even when it is flexing its considerable intellectual muscle.”
—Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Guardian
“Rarely has a book about darkness been so illuminating.”
—Spectator (“Books of the Year”)
“One of the most brilliant of the younger generation of English critics.”
“Nothing less than a grand unifying theory of the counter-enlightenment.”
“He releases an ancient, urban miasma that rises from the page, untroubled by electric illumination, allowing us to inhale what Shakespeare’s contemporary Thomas Dekker called ‘that thick tobacco-breath which the rheumaticke night throws abroad.’”
“Teeming and glorious … Matthew Beaumont probes far into the shadows.”
—Alexandra Harris, Times Literary Supplement
“This is a book pulsing with life, just as the streets do, despite attempts to cut that liminal, semi-illicit life off. The foreword and afterword, by Will Self, beautifully bracket the book, reinforcing the idea that the city is layered over time, and that each layer is accessible, and can be made vivid in the imagination. Why Nightwalking has not won a major award is beyond mine.”
—Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
“In Nightwalking, Matthew Beaumont rubs shoulders with the deviants, dissidents and dispossessed who lurk in the shadows of Shakespeare, Johnson, Blake and De Quincey.”
—Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard (“The Best Books About London”)
“The joy of Beaumont’s book is the way it illuminates both literature and urban politics through the splendors and panics of their nighttime journeys.”
“A historical guide to the capital, Beaumont details everything including the ‘villainous’ common nightwalkers and prostitutes of the middle ages and Charles Dickens’s time as an insomniac.”
—Dazed & Confused
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Matthew Beaumont is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at University College London. He is the author of Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England 1870-1900 (2005), and the co-author, with Terry Eagleton, of The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue (2009). He has also edited Restless Cities (2010). He lives and walks in London.
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I did give this book a really good try, 'gave it my best shot' (ask my friends who had long given up while I plodded on) but alas I didn't last the distance. A question : where was the Editor???
This is an excellent account of the tradition of staving off wakefulness by hitting the streets, and then using the experience as writing fodder. The research is extensive and impeccable, and there were many wry and amusing asides that kept me going through the 400 odd pages of closely written text.
I was given this book by one of my own readers who thought I might enjoy in it. Indeed I did. Recommended for all those interested in the history of London, seen from a very different angle. Also a fascinating read for ambulatory insomniacs. We are not alone.