Discovering Literary London
First year English students blogged about their walk around the literary sights of London in Welcome Week.
Harry Dakin-Brown - Marx memorial library
The Marx memorial library was the place that sparked most interest to me, mainly because of my previous studies of Russia on my Modern History A-Level. Having spent a considerable part of my second year in college studying the Russian Revolution, and the involvement of Lenin, as well as the gradual rise of Stalin in the same period (early 20th century), I found it truly astonishing as to how the building once welcomed such breathtaking characters.
Adding to this, being able to walk past the famous pub 'The Anchor', for which the two exiles would also spend their time in, was also greatly captivating and compelling. It shows that during that period they were normal humans, with ideas and aspirations for the future, just like every one of us today, yet were able to unwind and casually socialize; it makes them seem real, rather than revolutionists that I studied through a textbook, which I found to be very satisfying and exciting.
Zack Sardar - William Blake
After struggling to find the group but finally succeeding – curse my inability to talk to people; introvertedness will be the death of me - we set off on a walk that would soon render my legs useless but my fascination with literature increasing exponentially. I had the opportunity to visit the location of the William Blake's gravestone; as much as I conceal my love for romanticism, seeing the headstone reading "nearby lie the remains of William Blake and his wife Catherine Sophia" I felt an odd sense of admiration I didn't think I would experience at City. I have been intrigued by Blake's poetry after mishearing the homework in a year eight English lesson ('Read up on William Years and compile notes'). My troubled inability to hear would soon result in me exploring The Tyger, The Lamb, A Poison Tree - and discovering that his rejection of political beliefs and ability to explore emotions so vividly in word helped me envision a style of my own.
Carla Betianu - St. John's Gate
In a walk to discover London's monastic past, St. John's Gate is definitely a sight to see. Aside from being an architectural titan (as it dates back from the 1500's), it is also a gate towards art and history.
Having been a place to host painters and writers, the Gate has been a home to artists and provided creative minds such as Samuel Johnson, William Hogarth and Edward Cave with a place where their art could come alive. Hence, Cave's 1700's pioneering monthly ''The Gentleman's Magazine'' was printed here, Hogarth turned the space into a painter's safe haven, similarly to Samuel Johnson whose words came pouring onto paper in those times. Also, Hogarth's father who opened a coffee house near the entrance offered Latin lessons together with the coffee, therefore serving to the artistic and cultural purpose that the Gate has developed, just as his son will have also done through his painting career.
In the very heart of London, surrounded by modern buildings, traffic and history being overshadowed, St. John's Gate is a passageway to history - both literally and in a metaphorical sense.