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Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

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For many years a curfew helped to promote the association of nightwalkers with felons (including streetwalkers) and demons.

But mainly this is an analysis of the works of literary night walkers - both the famous (Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake, Wordsworth, De Quincey, Dickens) and the obscure. The fore and afterword and "regular" history bits were quite interesting but I found myself flagging hard during the more literary analyses. The belief that nightwalking was a precursor to deviancy precipitated the establishment of laws against nightwalking in England in 1285, aiming to reduce rising crime levels in town and cities, to regulate the lives of the general public and to restrict the movements of itinerants and vagrants.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.

Auch wenn es sich um jeweils nur eine der zahlreichen Wanderungen handelt, die John Lewis-Stempel nachts unternimmt, hat er mich trotzdem an der ganzen Jahreszeit teilnehmen lassen.In many works he is easy to miss, as he tends not to be a central or consistent figure, but rather one who skulks in the margins. Soon the popular understanding of “nightlife” had expanded to include entertainment as well as thieves lurking in the shadows. I started the project from a place of rage, after reading an extract from John Lewis-Stempel’s new book of the same name.

Representing London – or Paris, or any great place – in the light of being actually unknown to all the people in the story”, he noted, could perhaps be done by adopting the “fears and fancies and opinions” of those who lived there, revealing the city to be “an odd unlikeness of itself”. But very appealing subject matter - walking at night and being so familiar with your local area, the smell of particular plants, the song of particular birds and even the bark of particular trees. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged.I have seen a moon-bow, an arch of white light in the heavens; I have watched hares box in a star-charmed, wave-earthed plough field; I have learned our human insignificance by gazing up at the cosmic sprawl of the Milky Way.

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