One might fancy that day, the London day, was just beginning. Like a woman who had slipped off her print dress and white apron to array herself in blue and pearls, the day changed, put off stuff, took gauze, changed to evening, and with the same sigh of exhilaration that a woman breathes … but London would have none of it, and rushed her bayonets into the sky, pinioned her, constrained her to partnership in her revelry.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), Mrs. Dalloway
It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.
Henry James (1843-1916), The Notebooks of Henry James
London’s like a monster with one hundred arms … as wide as it’s long. It’s noisy. It’s dirty. It’s everything. You’ll see.
Kevin Crossley-Holland (b.1941), Crossing to Paradise, 2006
London’s spiry turrets rise. / Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain, / Then shield me in the woods again.
James Thomson (1914-1953)
London is like a dream come true. As I ramble through it I am haunted by the curious feeling of something half-forgotten, but still dimly remembered, like a reminiscence of some previous state of existence. It is at once familiar and strange.
Joseph Fort Newton (1876-1950), Preaching in London: A Diary of Anglo-American Friendship