Westminster Abbey, By Richard Jenkyns

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The Independent Culture

For anyone who hasn't heard enough about "the most complex church in the world" in past days, Profile has re-issued this introduction, surely the most worthwhile of wedding souvenirs.

Richard Jenkyns deftly incorporates today's nuptials ("the tradition of holding royal weddings [here] is less than a century old... the Abbey acts as a barometer of royal popularity") though readers drawn by the latest chapter in the building's history will find more of interest.

It is the resting place of Samuel Johnson, whose toga-clad statue "looks all too like someone who has just leaped from the bath to answer a wrong number" and James Macpherson, whose counterfeit Ossian poems roused the suspicions of Johnson. Crom-well was also buried here though he wasn't allowed to RIP.

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