On a foundation of contemporary documents and literature, Matthew Beaumont constructs an immersive cultural history of an alter
London, from the curfew of the medieval city to the familiar urban nightscapes through which Dickens steadily paced on his obsessive nocturnal pilgrimages. London by night, and how the liminal spaces of its darkness altered and freed the people who inhabited it:
Nightwalking, like writing poetry or taking opium, was one of the means by which Romantics like De Quincey, and post-Romantics like Dickens, fostered a second self -- a silent, shadowy, mysterious other. It collapsed the dark recesses of the psyche into the labyrinthine spaces of the city.