Monday, April 21, 2008

"The wonderful immensity of London," or, London Blogging Week, Part V

From The Life of Samuel Johnson (1771), by James Boswell
Talking of London, he observed, "Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists."
And, in the interest of offering a counter to Cyril Connolly's ennui from the other day, I can't very well let this week conclude without offering up Johnson's most famous words on his adopted city:
The happiness of London is not to be conceived but by those who have been in it. . . . Why, Sir, you find no man at all intellectual who is willing to leave London: No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.


  1. "Ursa Minor Beta is, some say, one of the most appalling places in the known Universe.

    "Although it is excruciatingly rich, horrifyingly sunny and more full of wonderfully exciting people than a pomegranate is of pips, it can hardly be insignificant that when a recent edition of Playbeing magazine headlined an article with the words 'When you are tired of Ursa Minor Beta you are tired of life,' the suicide rate quadrupled overnight." -- Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

  2. Well played, Jim, well played.