Philipp Röttgers, M.A., born in 1989, feels deeply connected to London, more than to any other place in the world. He is an expert in the capital’s (and Britain’s) literature and culture (he studied English literature and culture accordingly). Röttgers is also a „Ripperologist“ (and was already featured in the magazine of the same name). He is an expert on the works of London-related authors such as Peter Ackroyd, Iain Sinclair, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Ben Aaronovitch. Philipp is also an expert on London-related tv shows like Whitechapel und Ripper Street.
Reader’s Favorite Book Review
In London and Its Genius Loci, Philipp Röttgers takes the reader on a tour of London like no other. The approach is two-fold. As Röttgers explores contemporary London and muses upon her historical quirks, he also attempts to detect less corporeal influences. He speculates about how her structure and shadows are touched by the tragedies they bore witness to and reimagined by the stories invented to explain them.
Step by step, word by word, he calls up an imagined landscape that superimposes over what we know and learn of the physical London. It begins in the East End, the epi-center of Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror. There is a side order of likely suspects and other Victorian killers before we move on to the buildings of Nicholas Hawksmoor and visit the place where east meets west and the doorstep of Sherlock Holmes, among others. The quest for clues ultimately leads into the city’s fictional doppelgangers, as defined by Peter Ackroyd, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Ben Aaronovitch.
Like London itself, the vastness of the topic is overwhelming and the term genius loci itself resists definition. At times it is as ephemeral as the fog. Perhaps it is different for each individual, which is why it’s so vital that Röttgers shares his own experience of London in a series of detailed self-guided tours. The undercurrent of misogyny at the heart of so many portrayals of London could (and should) make you uncomfortable, but the author links it to a more primordial struggle – that of Mother Nature against Father Progress, of chaos against order.
By implication, London’s authors become co-creators of its psychic impact on the consciousness of mankind. Although not always an easy read, London and Its Genius Loci by Philipp Röttgers is likely to stay with you. Its reasoning will slip into your mind. It will challenge you to continue applying its conclusions to other stories of London. It will feel as if you’ve been let into a secret world which you can never again unsee.Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers‘ Favorite
Buy the book here.London and its genius loci: A journey beyond time and place
From 2020 onwards, I also lead walks through London. Get in touch with me via mail and we can find a date and a time.
My tours include: A Jack the Ripper tour through the East End, a tour through the City and more. If you have a special interest, let me know, then I can arrange a tour including special sites and interests.
„Philipp is an expert with a lot of knowledge about this special topic and talked freely throughout the whole walk“
„It was a lot of fun. History became very real, because we went to the different crime scenes. It felt like going back in time. Phil explained everything in great detail and presented the history in a very comprehensible way.“
- Guest blog for „Jack the Ripper tour“: A look at the connection between the Whitechapel Murders And the TV Series „Whitechapel“It’s an honour to be featured as a guest author on Richard Jones‘ website. Richard is a bestselling author (e.g. Jack the Ripper: The Casebook). He is tour guide of Jack The Ripper Tour and London Discovery Tours.
- William Terriss – The ghost of a murdered actorWilliam Terriss (1847 – 1897) was the hero of the Adelphi melodramas. He was murdered outside the theatre in Maiden Lane on 16 December 1897. His ghost is said to haunt Covent Garden station.
- 50 Berkeley Square – The most haunted house in LondonMany spectacular spirits are said to haunt 50 Berkeley Square, the „most haunted house in London“: According to legend, the house is so charged with psychic tension, you only need to touch the exterior brickwork in order to receive a tingling sensation that sends shivers down your spine.
- London: The Hardy Tree in the churchyard of St Pancras Old ChurchBefore Thomas Hardy became a novelist, he supervised the removal of the graveyard St Pancras Old Church in 1865, when the railway lines of St Pancras Station were laid through the site. The tombstones were placed against a great tree. Over the years its roots curled among them, they embraced them. It looks as if … Weiterlesen
- Cleopatra’s Needle – London’s true obeliskCleopatra’s Needle is situated on the Westminster side of the Thames, near Victoria Embankment, across from Lambeth. There were plans to place it right outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, but the location had been rejected. Now Cleopatra’s Needle stands beside the Thames and just like the river, is a solid and fixed part … Weiterlesen