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Old St. Paul's

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
April 1665 - when the cry of 'Bring out your dead' sent a chill through every household ...

With a telling eye for detail Harrison Ainsworth unrolls his sweeping, colourful panorama of a Restoration London beset by twin disasters ... the Great Plague and the Fire of London ...

The profligate Earl of Rochester, the frenzied Salvationist Solomon Eagle, the abominable undertake
Paperback, 510 pages
Published 1968 by Pan Publishing (first published 1841)
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"Old Saint Paul's: A Tale of the Plague and the Fire", is a novel by William Harrison Ainsworth serially published in 1841. It is a historical romance that describes the events of the Great Plague of London and the Great Fire of London. It was the basis for the silent film Old St. Paul's which I now have to go look up when I'm finished with this. The novel ran in The Sunday Times from January 1841 to December 1841, and he was one of the first writers to appear in a national paper in such a form
Sep 03, 2015 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it was a dark and story night (and couple of days) when I read this novel, and I'm sure that made my reading experience all the more fun, because, let's face it, Old Saint Paul's, while enjoyable to read, is not great literature. It is, rather, a delightful, rollicking melodrama that keeps on going, gets wobbly, and then rights itself, and never ever lets you catch your breath.

I could not help but visualize this novel, set as a play, and performed, lit by gas, in a Victorian theatre. We ha
Sep 30, 2011 Lucy rated it it was ok
""Enough," rejoined Argentine. "May you be happy with Isabella." And removing his hand from his side, a copious effusion of blood followed, and sinking backward, he expired."
I felt I should read some Harrison Ainsworth when I discovered Thomas Hardy read him. He was one of the most popular authors of his time....well I suppose the Victorians needed their rubbish as well. Badly written with cardboard characters and a preposterous, awkward plot. It came briefly to life when the Great Fire took hol
Aug 29, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I have to say that I laughed a lot. The story had absolutely everything in it that you would find in a novel of that period and before. All of the missed recognitions, unknown paternity, a brother narrowly missing the seduction of his own sister, and much much more. It has been 31 years since I read this and I still remember quite a bit about it. That is pretty good since I frequently can't remember much about something I read a week ago now.
Sue Little
Aug 03, 2015 Sue Little rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History as it is best

I really love to read old books. This made the world of the olden days live. I could feel the fear of the plague and understand why they thought everyone would die
Gordon Mays
Apr 08, 2010 Gordon Mays rated it it was amazing
A stunning story with great details of how to survive in the plague years.
Very gripping and a good read.
May 24, 2010 Surreysmum rated it liked it
[These notes were made in 1986; I read this in a 19th-century Routledge edition:]. "A Tale of the Plague and the Fire" - and the descriptions of each are as lengthy, well-researched and gruesome as one has come to expect from Ainsworth. These set pieces, together with the loving descriptions of Old St. Paul's Cathedral (handily the centre-point of all the novel's action) are the real meat, and in order to work them in, Ainsworth occasionally has to strain his characters a bit. For instance, what ...more
One must suspend modern cynicism in order to enjoy this book, and instead immerse oneself in a 19th-century author's sensibilities about the 17th century. The story is outright melodrama with all the attendant, over-the-top set pieces, but with enough clear description and historical grounding to make portions of it really come alive.
Nicola Atkinson
Feb 05, 2014 Nicola Atkinson rated it really liked it
This was a recommendation from my husband and mother in law - she grew up in London during the war and said it was a great read so I decided to give it a go. I really enjoyed this book, great storyline, written language a little strange to start with, in parts its very old English, but a quick reference in the dictionary cleared up any confusions - great book, definitely worth a read!
Jan 11, 2016 Hulda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
En skikkelig røverhistorie! Nokså langdryg og platt, men verdt det på grunn av noen kostelige scener og en intens skildring av bybrannen i London.
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Old St. Pauls 1 3 Jul 18, 2009 08:10PM  
William Harrison Ainsworth was educated at Manchester Grammar School and later articled to a solicitor, deserting this profession for literature.

Among his best known novels are The Tower of London (1840), Old St. Paul's (1841), Windsor Castle (1843) and The Lancashire Witches (1848).
More about William Harrison Ainsworth...

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