Charles Dickens, George Sala and the Coombe

Charles Dickens didn’t write the description of Dublin’s Coombe that’s often attributed to him. Instead, in 1853, he dispatched George Sala, a journalist for Dickens’s Household Words, who found in the area: an almost indescribable aspect of dirt and confusion, semi-continental picturesqueness, shabbiness – less the shabbiness of dirt than that of untidiness – over-population, […]

Where am I and what am I doing? Writing about Parisian geography

My essay on Georges Perec, the Situationists and Parisian geography appears in the third issue of the White Review, published this week. I stood near the columbarium at Père Lachaise cemetery. I was there to see the locker-like vault containing the ashes of Georges Perec, kept alongside those of his aunt, Esther Bienenfeld. To the […]