National cathedral, coronation church, royal mausoleum, museum of sculpture, burial place of poets, resting place of the great and of the Unknown Warrior, and recent backdrop to the spectacular funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales - this rich and extraordinary building unites many functions. In terms of those functions, the Abbey is the most complex church in existence - perhaps the most complex of all buildings. It has been abbey, pilgrimage church, cathedral; and it is now a collegiate church and royal peculiar. The foundation document of modern Presbyterianism was written within its walls; and its chapter for centuries served as a house of parliament. In a highly original book classicist and cultural historian Richard Jenkyns shows us how to look at this microcosm of history with new eyes. The Wonders of the World is a series of books that focuses on some of the worlds most famous sites or monuments. Their names will be familiar to almost everyone: they have achieved iconic stature and are loaded with a fair amount of mythological baggage. These monuments have been the subject of many books over the centuries, but our aim, through the skill and stature of the writers, is to get something much more enlightening, stimulating, even controversial, than straightforward histories or guides.

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