January 7, 2010

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s is, as I remembered it, a very handsome noble architectural exploit, but singularly unaffecting. When I formerly came to it from the Italian cathedrals, I said, “Well, here is New York.” It seems the best of show-buildings, a fine British vaunt, but there is no moral interest attached to it.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson [from his journals, April? 1848], in EMERSON IN HIS JOURNALS, selected and edited by Joel Porte, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) - London (England), 1982.

That’s just (si parva licet componere magnis) what I always thought about London’s cathedral…


  1. St Paul's has its charm also because it survived the blitz. The old Londoners identify with it. And not to forget it's 'whispering gallery'. But there are more beautiful and more impressive Cathedrals in England. Salisbury and Canterbury, for example.



  2. Yep, the Canterbury Cathedral--I was there about fifteen years ago--is probably among the most beautiful church edifices I have ever seen. I heven't ever been in Salisbury, but I heard its cathedral is awesome (thanks for the photos).