WRITERS’ HOUSES

The other day I visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum (see above) in Haworth, Yorkshire.  I haven’t visited many writers’ houses mainly because I’ve suspected I might be bored by them but this did not bore me at all. It gave a real sense of what it would have been like to live in the house. I had a vivid impression of all those febrile imaginations sparking off each other; the contrast of the claustrophobia of the house with the wide open expanses of the moors. I loved it and bought myself a very nice mug with a quote from Emily Brontë on the outside which says “NO COWARD SOUL IS MINE.” Always good to be reminded of that I think, especially when you’ve got a book freshly published! The only books by the Brontës I’ve read are Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre but now I’m curious to read the Tenant of Wildfeld Hall and Shirley. It actually gave me a bit of a yearning to go and visit other writers’ houses. So tomorrow I’m off to the Charles Dickens Museum below. I’m ashamed to say I’ve lived in London for over thirty years and never been. That’s pathetic!

Have you visited any writer’s house recently? What was your experience like? Are there any you’d recommend?

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7 thoughts on “WRITERS’ HOUSES

  1. Haven’t visited any writers’ houses, but do statues count? My hometown (Trieste, nth-east Italy) has statues of James Joyce – who lived there for 15 years and wrote most of Ulysses in the city – and I’ve stood and admired them. Apparently he lived in about eight houses while there, but I’ve never stood outside them. On my bucket list!

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    • Statues definitely count! And I never knew Joyce wrote Ulysses in Trieste. I imagined him somewhere colder, damper, foggier… I say imagine as if I’ve read it which I haven’t. It sits next to the bed alongside Middlemarch which I haven’t read either!

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  2. Not a writer’s house – but I do love the studio and garden that belonged to Barbara Hepworth in St Ives. It is amazing to stand in her workspace and see all the tools of her trade and then in the garden one can actually touch the sculptures. Hepworth is my favourite 20C sculptor.

    Artists’ spaces – It is the thrill of being in the space where great art was produced …

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    • Oh, I love her studio and garden as well and like you say the thrill of touching them. Apparently you can’t do that at the Tate Britain exhibition and some of them are in vitrines which sounds a bit upsetting to me. I haven’t been yet but am definitely going to.

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    • I think artists’ spaces are generally more interesting because you get the splatters of paint, the mess … more of a sense of them in that space. When I visited Dicken’s house it was all so orderly and neat – well, it would be, it’s a museum! but I wondered if he worked in such order or whether there was a bit of chaos about the place. I am not orderly at all when I write. There’s always something crucial I’ve written on the back of a receipt or something on a post it note. You can look at his desk and his chair but what about all that volatile energy! Difficult to capture in a museum.

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