The Public Domain Review

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The Nightwalker and the Nocturnal Picaresque

Wednesday 3 June 2015 at 18:05

The introduction of street lighting to 17th-century London saw an explosion of nocturnal activity in the capital, most of it centring around the selling of sex. Matthew Beaumont explores how some writers, with the intention of condemning these nefarious goings-on, took to the city's streets after dark, and in the process gave birth to a peculiar new literary genre.