Thursday 26 March 2015
, 18.15 - 19.30
UCL Medawar Building, Malet Place, G01 Lankester Lecture Theatre
Free, no reservation required.
Throughout its history, London has been two places: the daytime city of business and work, and the night-time palace of dark desires, crime, and vagrancy. This place has attracted writers, lawyers, poets, and politicians who have all attempted to chart and control the nocturnal flows of the capital. In the medieval city, nightwalking was a punishable crime; by the Victorian era, Charles Dickens was forced to wander the streets by night in order to becalm his disturbed mind. Why has the city shrouded in darkness been such a compelling subject over the centuries?
In this lecture, Matthew Beaumont discusses the perambulations of poets, novelists, and thinkers from Shakespeare, to the ecstatic strolls of William Blake, the feverish urges of opium addict De Quincey, as well as the master nightwalker, Charles Dickens.
It accompanies his new book launched this month, Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London
(Verso, 2015), a literary history of those who roam the streets of London while others sleep. It has received favourable write-ups in the Spectator
, Financial Times
, and Independent
, amongst others.
The lecture will be chaired by Nick Papadimitriou
, author of Scarp
, a survey of the North Middlesex/South Hertfordshire Escarpment, and the subject of the film London Perambulator
, featuring guest appearances by Will Self, Russell Brand and Iain Sinclair.
Matthew is co-director of the UCL Urban Laboratory and senior lecturer in English at UCL.
Copies of the book will be available to purchase for Â£15.