In The Shadow of St. Paul's Cathedral

The Churchyard that Shaped London

Margaret Willes

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St. Paul’s Cathedral stands at the heart of London, an enduring symbol of the city. Less well known is the neighborhood at its base that hummed with life for over a thousand years, becoming a theater for debate and protest, knowledge and gossip.
 
For the first time Margaret Willes tells the full story of the area. She explores the dramatic religious debates at Paul’s Cross, the bookshops where Shakespeare came in search of inspiration, and the theater where boy actors performed plays by leading dramatists. After the Great Fire of 1666, the Churchyard became the center of the English literary world, its bookshops nestling among establishments offering luxury goods.
 
This remarkable community came to an abrupt end with the Blitz. First the soaring spire of Old St. Paul’s and then Wren’s splendid Baroque dome had dominated the area, but now the vibrant secular society that had lived in their shadow was no more.

Margaret Willes, formerly publisher at the National Trust, is author of several books, including The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, Reading Matters, and The Gardens of the British Working Class. She lives in London.

ISBN: 9780300249835
Publication Date: April 19, 2022
320 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
32 b/w + 32 color illus.; 3 maps
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