This is a 1960 collection of first-hand essays
and reports about life and culture in London from 1835 to 1872. It opens with
selections from Dickens' own Sketches by
Boz and his magazine Household Words.
Then, the selections from Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and London Poor make us
want to read the whole book, famous as a pioneering work in anthropology,
sociology, and investigative journalism. It also has essays from foreigners’
point of view by Max Schlesinger (German), Ralph Waldo Emerson (American), and
Hippolyte Taine (French). These are interesting too in that we can identify the
writers’ cultural blind spots and preconceptions. It’s strange how the most
talented people turn into know-alls when they talk about other cultures. The
anthology was designed to give students practice is writing research papers and
has a tantalizing bibliography for further readings from scholars from the
Forties and Fifties.