During the first week of May, St. James’s Square will be playing host to a memorable line up of events designed to commemorate the 175th anniversary of The London Library – one of the world’s great literary institutions and the Square’s longest standing resident.
At the heart of the anniversary festivities is Words In The Square – a three-day celebration directed by writer and director James Runcie and by historian David Kynaston, which features sixteen fascinating talks, debates and discussions on literature & writing, history, art, comedy, science – and cricket!
London Society members might be particularly interested in the talk on Sunday 8 May, “London and The Blitz”. The most significant and frightening episode in London’s history since the Plague and the Great Fire almost three centuries earlier, the Bitz threw up a whole subsequent mythology. The three speakers at the talk give us the rounded reality. Lara Feigel (The Love-charm of Bombs; The Bitter Taste of Victory) evokes the literary and romantic dimensions; Juliet Gardiner (The Blitz; Wartime; The Thirties) takes us to the heart of the action, and to how Londoners responded; while Max Hastings authoritatively puts the Blitz in the larger context of the war. All nations have their collective myths: this event, chaired by David Kynaston, examines one of our most resonant.