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The young T.S. Eliot, recently settled in London in 1914, described his new city to an American cousin: "It is foreign, but hospitable, or rather tolerant, and perhaps does not so demand to be understood as does Paris. Less jealous." London’s obliging equanimity in the face of two millennia of expectant newcomers, pilgrims, and tourists has been a distinguishing feature of the place since it was founded as a Roman colonial encampment around 43 AD. It is a huge yet humane city, without the vastly impersonal skyscraper-canyons of New York or the antique fragility of relic-filled Rome. It’s an international capital that embraces the individual at eyelevel, welcoming the walker to wander, explore, and join the numberless millions who have found themselves—in every sense—in this lively, companionable, and endlessly evolving city. Strolling Through London take its walking reader across this buzzing metropolis, balancing the expected tourist highlights with lesser-known corners and byways, and encouraging the kinds of rewarding experience and discovery that only come from a true engagement with London’s complex, vibrant history, and spirit.
Aidan Wasley has written for Salon among other journals and magazines. He is associate professor of English at the University of Georgia, with a focus on modern English literature and culture.