Bleak House starts with a one-word sentence: “London”. Charles Dickens probably considered starting “Hard Times” with a similar one-word sentence: “Manchester”, except that he hedged his bets by calling his mythical Northern city “Coketown”.
Nevertheless the great novelist spent much time in Manchester, appearing at The Athenaeum and Free Trade Hall, and hanging loose with Harrison Ainsworth.
We remember the best of times, the worst of times.
* The walk is taking place during the Manchester Literature Festival and includes a visit to the Portico Library. It is led by Ed Glinert, Penguin author and editor of Penguin Classics’ Sherlock Holmes stories.