London: Art, Architecture, Literature & People
London is one of the richest cities in the world for its fascinating history. In this course we will explore some of the people and events that have helped make that history so rich, using the art, architecture and literature associated with the city as our guide.
Amongst other things, we will discover why England’s greatest architect died alone and forgotten amid the ruins of one of his greatest creations. How poets and novelists have found the river and narrow medieval street pattern of London so inspiring. And, why a disagreement over the colour blue once caused a fight amongst radical artists at the Cafe Royal. More discreditable histories will emerge too, from anti-semitism in the East End, to London’s role in the Atlantic slave trade, both of which had a profound impact on the culture of London.
The approach in our classroom discussions will be interdisciplinary, using a variety of sources to explore and understand the history of London from a cultural perspective, investigating how many of its key buildings and institutions came into existence, and discovering some of the notable figures that gave life to a city that has been described by Stephen Fry, as ‘proudly barbaric, but deeply civilised’.
This course will comprise nineteen lunchtime sessions held in the classroom at Imperial College, South Kensington. At the end of the course students will also have the opportunity to attend one Saturday afternoon session visiting Temple, in Fleet Street, to see the changing face of London over the centuries.
The course tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and also teaches art history at the City and Guilds of London School of Art. Michael is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction and has published very widely on art of this period, as well as reviewing exhibitions and novels for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and The Spectator magazine. His novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016.
If you have any questions about the course content please directly email the tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos.