The aim of this blog is to serve as a meeting point to those who study or have studied English philology and, more broadly, to all those who love literature and language.

10 Aug 2008


I like London and somehow I try not to finish a year without a short visit to that city. The reasons have been different (sightseeing, family, English language, personal interests…) and it each stay has led me to some known places that I’ve seen change through time or just remain but every journey also has taken me to new places.

Depending on the activities that engage my attention at a particular moment, I seem to focus on diverse issues and, in the last five years, literature has been a recurrent attractor.

That’s why I’ll try to build a virtual tour in five stops along some spots in London where writers studied in the last years happened to ‘turn up’ unexpectedly.

1. In June 2005, when the 18th and 19th English writers studied in LITERATURA INGLESA II  were still fresh in my mind after the many hours of study devoted to that subject for still recent exams, they lent me a members’ card to enter a temporary exhibition at the Tate Britain Gallery for free and I ended up surrounded by Joshua Reynolds’s paintings without really intending it. Suddenly I started recognising faces I had got acquainted with when, trying to assign images to names and works, I ‘illustrated’ my study notes with pictures from the Internet. Many of those paintings belong to the permanent exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and can be seen there, e.g. Laurence Sterne or Samuel Johnson

2. Nex year, a quiet walk around the inside of Southwark Cathedral  made me stop at Shakespeare Memorial where there is a lying sculpture of that playwright. Looking up, Hamlet, Falstaff, Caliban… took shape in the light filtered through a stained glass window.


3. It was no surprise to find manuscripts by recognised authors in the showcases at the British Library but looking at the exhibits of Magna Carta with the contextual hints attained after taking HISTORIA Y CUTURA DE LOS PAÍSES DE HABLA INGLESA was something new.

4. Many houses around London display plaques informing that they once were home to recognised writers, scientists, statesmen… George Orwell made his appearance in Notting Hill from his name on the façade of this house:

5. Bookshops are the easy way to come across the names and works of well-known writers. Last week, while browsing through the bookcases in a big bookshop, the name of Benjamin Zephaniah drew my attention and, for a while, I read some excerpts from Refugee Boy, something that probably I would not have done without the reference of that poet and novelist studied in the last term of this academic year.

1 comment:

  1. I try to do the same with England in general. I have family in the north and I manage to go every two years. Reading your commentary beautiful memories of the Lake District came to my mind. I love the place. I have been several times but I remember especially 2003 Easter holidays when studying The Lake Poets, Wordsworth, Coleridge…

    Two years later I visited the Brontë Sisters House in Haworth, West Yorkshire. Facing the moors I tried to imagine the years and the environment, the isolation in which Charlotte and her sisters wrote their novels.

    I will finish with London, the theme of the entry, I have been several times, last visit, last Easter travelling from the north by train with my family. We spent four days there, sightseeing. It was the first time my children 13 and 9 visited London so we behaved like perfect tourists, Madam Tussauds, The Big Wheel, a trip on boat…I remember sitting on the top deck of the London Sightseeing Bus, and inevitably turning my head at the sight of Bloomsbury Street plaque thinking about the great Virginia Woolf.