Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*London. City in which Keith Rickman and several other characters live and work. It is often referred to throughout the novel as simply “the City.” Rickman’s poetic inspiration, like many of the so-called Decadent poets of the 1890’s, comes first from the urban environment of London. Rickman both works and socializes within the world of literary magazines and journalism on Fleet Street, where petty rivalries between the editor of The Planet and the editor of Metropolis damage Rickman’s potential literary success. Gossip about Rickman is often circulated at the Junior Journalists’ Club, an organization of newspapermen, editors, and literary critics located in the Strand. The city also represents the source of Rickman’s struggles between his artistic genius and various mundane requirements: his moral obligations to others, financial security, and his desire for physical love.
Rickman’s Book Store. Bookstore owned by Isaac Rickman, Keith’s father, that is located in the Strand, an area of London known for its publishing houses and bookstores. Poorly lit and oppressive, the store has a strong odor of old books. Early in the novel, Keith is torn between his poetic career and his familial obligations to his father’s business. His father has built a successful business and secure reputation selling new and rare books to the London literati, thanks in large part to Keith’s unfailing judgment in appraising books. However, his business begins to fail after he has a falling out with Keith over his purchase of the Harden Library. After he dies, Keith inherits both the store and the debt incurred through the mortgaging of the Harden Library, which he must pay off in order to salvage the library for Lucia.
*Bloomsbury. London suburb known for its close-knit artistic community in the early part of the twentieth century. After Rickman’s work at Court House is completed, the novel shifts location to Mrs. Downey’s boardinghouse on Tavistock Place. Mrs. Downey imagines that her boarders represent the elite of London intellectual society, with Rickman as her house’s jewel, and she fashions her dinners and nightly gatherings as cultural events. Rickman is eventually reunited here with Lucia when she makes an extended visit to her former tutor, Miss Roots, another boarder at the house. Rickman’s later physical decline, when he commits almost all of his finances to the recovery the Harden Library, is marked by his progressively diminishing living arrangements, from the boardinghouse in Bloomsbury to a cheap attic room on Howland Street that he shares with a prostitute.
*Hampstead. Fashionable northwestern suburb of London in which Horace Jewdwine, the editor of the successful literary periodical The Metropolis, lives. His gracious accommodations contrast with Rickman’s decline into poverty.
*Ealing. London suburb where Rickman buys a house for his planned marriage to Flossie, whom he meets in the boardinghouse. After Flossie breaks off the engagement, Rickman maintains the house as a small source of rental income, and he and Lucia eventually decide to live there at the end of the novel.