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London: The Biography
London: The Biography
by Peter Ackroyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.19

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars re Ackroyd, 31 Aug. 2006
This review is from: London: The Biography (Paperback)
Those who have expressed the strongest criticism of this work are, I suspect, historians (particularly social historians) or, if they are 'literary' readers, they read from a perspective influenced by social theory and cultural studies. The latter is a common mode of reading in current academic circles; one that Ackroyd is well known to dislike, so it is unsurprising that they do not care for his work. Anyone seeking to understand Ackroyd's views as a literary critic should try his 'Notes For a New Culture' and this might help those who are confused or disappointed by his style and method. Actually I am surprised that so many people are arguing about this work as a 'history' - it is not a history but a piece of literature, as its title self-consciously suggests, and if one follows Ackroyd's belief then there need be no relation between the two types of text - for him they operate in entirely separate spheres.

Ackroyd subtitled 'Albion' as 'The Origins of the English Imagination,' and he is likewise here concerned with the London imagination - and imagination is neither reality nor the concern of social realists.


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