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The Great Wen

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The Great Wen is a disparaging nickname for London. The term was coined in the 1820s by William Cobbett, the radical pamphleteer and champion of rural England. Cobbett saw the rapidly growing city as a pathological swelling on the face of the nation. (A "wen" is a sebaceous cyst.) The term is quoted in his 1830 work Rural Rides: "But, what is to be the fate of the great wen of all? The monster, called, by the silly coxcombs of the press, 'the metropolis of the empire?'"[1]

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  1. ^ Cobbett, William (November 2005) [First published 1830]. Rural Rides - Volume 1. Cosimo Classics. p. 43. ISBN 1-59605-577-4.