Well, it has certainly been some time since the last Literary Excursion post. Fortunately, my dissertation hand-in proved the perfect opportunity to indulge in a new literary-themed outing. Since starting my studies at the LSE, the Charles Dickens Museum has featured high-up on my list of ‘Things To See’. As you may recall from my lecture on the merits of Charles Dickens (cunningly disguised as a review of Our Mutual Friend), I am something of a Dickens devotee. That it has taken me so long to pay a visit to his former home (particularly heinous given that it is just a ten minute walk from the LSE campus in Holborn) is a travesty. Yet what better celebration of dissertation survival?
The Charles Dickens Museum is located on Doughty Street, just ten minutes walk from Kings Cross station. It is Dickens’s only remaining London home, replicated as it would have been at the time of his occupation. In addition to being a beautifully laid-out house and a great example of 19th century interiors, the Museum also contains a vast collection of Dickens artefacts and items of interest.
As someone who admires Dickens’s works and has read a lot about his life, the Charles Dickens Museum proved an impressive and fascinating insight into the habits and occupations of the author. The extensive information provided also ensures that visitors less familiar with Dickens and his literary outputs would not be left lost. A warning, however. As a London house, the layout is one of narrow corridors and small rooms. If possible, I would recommend visits outside of school holidays – unless you particularly enjoy casting the narrow-eyed look at disruptive children.
After an exploration of all the Dickens Museum has to offer, it was on to the Tube for a trip to the amazing Daunt Books in Marylebone. Now fully underway with my Bookshop Bucketlist, Daunt is one that I have had recommended to me by several avid readers. It did not disappoint. Organised by country (in both subject and author), the layout of the shop is truly unique. While initially a little confusing, I found that this organisational system actually made for much easier browsing. When alphabetical by order, it is typically luck or an attractive cover that leads you to an unexpected book find. Daunt’s layout allows you to develop a more targeted approach – for those among us who can spend hours searching the shelves, Daunt is perhaps a good option when short on time!