In September 1666 the Great Fire destroyed four-fifths of the ancient City of London within three days. All that had been familiar, settled, known, was suddenly and entirely swept away. Londoners faced an emptiness that was not only physical but also historical, social, financial and conceptual. The Literary and Cultural Spaces of Restoration London is the first study to situate the literature of Restoration and early Augustan England within the historical and cultural contexts of the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire. Cynthia Wall relates the marked topographical specificity of plays, poems and novels to a wider cultural network of responses to changing perceptions of urban space, and she shows how the literatures of the period - along with the surveying, mapping, rebuilding and official redescribing of the city - attempt to reinvest the city with comprehensible meaning and create new spaces for new genres.
Preface; Acknowledgments; Part I. Describing London: 1. The Great Fire and rhetorics of loss; 2. Londini renascenti: the spaces of rebuilding; 3. Redrawing London: maps and texts; Part II. Inhabiting London; 4. The art of writing the streets of London; 5. New narratives of public spaces: parks and shops; 6. Narratives of private spaces: churches, houses and novels; Notes; Bibliography; Index.