Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*London. Capital city of the British Empire, whose neighborhoods, landmarks, public houses, and climate provide a constant source of energy for a maverick artist. His friends, admirers, rivals, and passersby represent the rich variety of life in Great Britain just before the war that significantly transformed the city. Other parts of the city are brought into the narrative as Jimson pursues his quest for a place to paint. The wealthy patron Hickson lives in “Portland Place, top end, near the park,” one of the more affluent sections of the city. The Beeders, who are collectors, live in a modern development called Capel Mansions, a relatively tasteful, slightly ostentatious group of town houses that Jimson describes as “fine large new buildings in the playbrick design.” The sculptor’s model Lolie is described as good stock by her husband, who identifies her as being from Bethnal Green. Sara Monday, Jimson’s lifelong, truest love, lives with her common-law husband in Chattfield Buildings, grim, squalid, deteriorating tenements probably built as inexpensive lodgings for the poor. These locations, as well as public houses in Chelsea, Hammersmith, and Belgravia—bohemian quarters near the city’s center—contribute to the ambience of the metropolis and deftly suggest its complexity. A bus tour that Jimson and his admirer Nosy Barbon take provides additional details to deepen the picture.

*River Thames


(The entire section is 455 words.)