M. Hanna ’18 – Wonders of London in “116 Days”

London, England

               A literary gold mine

Since the earliest years I can remember, I have always been an avid reader. As a child, I eagerly awaited the time of night when my mom would pull out the stacks of library books we had carefully picked out together, and we would dive into the world of knights and princesses, heroes, talking animals, and faraway places. In grade school, I was repeatedly admonished for covertly reading a novel under my desk during lessons I should have been paying attention to.

Now, as a college student, reading is my release from stress—a chance to experience someone else’s world for a little while. So, it was not surprising that I was immediately drawn to London by its wealth of literary capital. The city attracts visitors for a variety of reasons, but for me, it was a chance to see the books I have read come to life before my eyes. It was a chance to see the clock tower that Peter Pan and Wendy had circled on their way to Neverland, the platform on which Harry and Ron waited for the Hogwarts Express each year, the address of the infamous apartment of Sherlock Holmes, and the theater in which Lady Macbeth frantically tried to wash the blood off her hands, a despairing Juliet swallowed her poison, and Puck created mischief for the entire fairly realm. So much of British culture is channeled through its literature, which spans the centuries and important eras in British history, from Shakespearean times to the Victorian period, to the modern age. The city’s character is rooted not just in cups of tea with milk and cries of “mind the gap!” but also in the air of mystery and imagination that seems to waft from the foggy streets of London directly into the pages of its books.

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