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  • Published: 11 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446426784
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

142 Strand

A Radical Address in Victorian London

A fascinating 'microhistory' not just of an address, but of a whole social circle and creative period.

142 Strand was the home of the brilliant, unconventional young publisher John Chapman. All the daring and avant-garde writers and thinkers of Victorian London gathered here, among them Carlyle, Dickens, Thackeray; Americans like Emerson and refugees from revolutionary Europe like Mazzini. In 1851 Chapman brought Marian Evans - the future George Eliot - to London where her arrival caused rows in the household, which included Chapman's wife and also his mistress.

The Strand was packed with booksellers, magazine publishers, theatres, clubs, and quack doctors. Only a short distance away were Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and the disreputable pornographers of Holywell street. Chapman's circle touched all these worlds, and the vivid story of these unconventional lives and unorthodox views - marvellously told by Rosemary Ashton - takes us to the heart of Victorian culture, uncovering its surprising energy, its doubts and arguments, and, above all, its passionate reforming spirit.

  • Published: 11 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446426784
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

About the author

Rosemary Ashton

Rosemary Ashton is Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London. She is the author of acclaimed critical biographies of Coleridge (1996), George Henry Lewes (1991) and George Eliot (shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Prize, 1996) and Thomas and Jane Carlyle: Portrait of a Marriage (2002).

Praise for 142 Strand

This is a portrait skilfully drawn in the round...brilliantly captured.

Rosemary Hill, Sunday Times

On the intellectual debates...that exercised these characters she is excellent, describing books and linking ideas with panache. There are, too, many moments when the story of 142 Strand comes very vividly to life.

Matthew Sturgis, Sunday Telegraph

Wonderfully researched and absorbing account.

Philip Hoare, Observer

Rosemary Ashton tells his story [John Chapman's] with both aplomb and scholarship. Anyone wanting to deepen their knowledge of London's intellectual life at this time will find her book indispensable.

Simon Heffer, Spectator

A truly marvellous evocation of a group of people living at the centre of Victorian life. She draws a picture so vivid it is like a novel; so detailed and dramatic in all its emotional twists and turns that we feel we are living through its story. ..a real page turner.

AN Wilson, Daily Mail

[Ashton] comes close to creating something far more original than a standard biography: not a romance, but the real-life equivalent of a Victorian multi-plot novel; a web of human connections that comes closer than any recent historical study to capturing the spirit of the age.

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, New Statesman

Rivetingly entertaining.

AN Wilson, Observer, Books of the Year

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