Dickensland: The Curious History of Dickens's London (Hardcover)
The intriguing history of Dickens’s London, showing how tourists have reimagined and reinvented the Dickensian metropolis for more than 150 years
Tourists have sought out the landmarks, streets, and alleys of Charles Dickens’s London ever since the death of the world-renowned author. Late Victorians and Edwardians were obsessed with tracking down the locations—dubbed “Dickensland”—that famously featured in his novels. But his fans were faced with a city that was undergoing rapid redevelopment, where literary shrines were far from sacred. Over the following century, sites connected with Dickens were demolished, relocated, and reimagined.
Lee Jackson traces the fascinating history of Dickensian tourism, exploring both real Victorian London and a fictional city shaped by fandom, tourism, and heritage entrepreneurs. Beginning with the late nineteenth century, Jackson investigates key sites of literary pilgrimage and their relationship with Dickens and his work, revealing hidden, reinvented, and even faked locations. From vanishing coaching inns to submerged riverside stairs, hidden burial grounds to apocryphal shops, Dickensland charts the curious history of an imaginary world.
About the Author
Lee Jackson is a well-known expert on Victorian London. He is the author of Dirty Old London, Walking Dickens’ London, and Palaces of Pleasure. Lee has lectured on Victorian topics for libraries and museums throughout London and is an academic advisor to the Dickens Museum.
“Jackson has crafted a droll, enigmatic ride through the 150-year-old phenomenon of Dickens tourism and its relationship with imagination.”—James Riding, Times (UK)
“Jackson paints a vivid and detailed picture of the city as it was. . . . Dickens, who was no stranger to the instructive and comedic joys of pedantry, would surely have approved.”—Ann Alicia Garza, Times Literary Supplement
“What a pleasure to take a walk through London with Charles Dickens—and Lee Jackson. Two of the ablest literary city guides.”—Judith Flanders, author of The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London
“Just when you thought there can’t be anything new to say about Dickens and his work, Lee Jackson delivers a trove of original insights in this impeccably researched work.”—Sarah Wise, author of The Blackest Street: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum
“Ever wanted to go in search of Dickens’s London? Assembling a cast of fakes, fans and literary devotees, Lee Jackson provides the best guide we have to the novelist’s impact on the tourist industry which shapes the way we view the city’s Victorian past. Get ready for a cornucopia of Dickensiana!”—Rohan McWilliam, author of London’s West End: Creating the Pleasure District, 1800–1914
“Jackson’s brilliant Dickensland takes us on a fascinating tour of the key sights of Dickens’s London, exploring the Dickens tourism boom in the decades just after the great author’s death. As Jackson convincingly and entertainingly demonstrates, there is much about ‘Dickensland’ that is manufactured, fake or simply in the wrong place.”—Chris Louttit, president, Dickens Society
“This is a fascinating exploration of the blurred lines between imaginary and real-world locations. Written in a uniquely captivating style, this book really does take you places.”—Michaela Mahlberg, University of Birmingham