Monday, May 9, 2011

An Inside Look at Writers' Homes

I'll admit it...I'm a sucker for visiting famous authors' homes.

When I was in Paris, what was one of my top five things I wanted to do? See Victor Hugo's house.

When I was in Key West? Go to Hemingway's famed home and garden. (Pic of me in his garden, right).

Lucky for me, The Huffington Post ran a piece from Flavorwire last Thursday (I know, I know, I'm behind...again) taking its readers inside the walls of just these kinds of houses:

Last month, The New York Times ran a slideshow of Norman Mailer’s Brooklyn Heights apartment, which will be up for sale shortly. This got us thinking about our favorite authors, where they lived, and how much our environment shapes our work. (If it does, then we’re really in trouble, since we mostly write in a dark Brooklyn apartment with neighbors who smoke packs of cigarettes and scream at their children in languages we don’t understand.) A.N. Devers, a literary pilgrim, commissioned Michael Fusco and Emma Straub to make great, inexpensive posters of authors’ domiciles — from Emily Dickinson’s homestead to Zora Neale Hurston’s modest bungalow — and they are available here. If you’re interested in a writer’s first person account of her tour of famous authors’ homes, then check out A Skeptic’s Guide to Writers’ Houses by Anne Trubek. Click through now to take a virtual tour of some of our favorite writers’ residences.

Truman Capote in his Brooklyn Heights apartment

Slim Aarons took this photo (left) of Truman Capote in 1958, when the author was in his thirties. His penchant for all things kitsch is on display, but the silk wall hanging for whatever reason just kills us. You can view more of Aarons’ photos at Photographers Gallery.

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s desk in his apartment in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Our favorite Slavophile lived at this address during the last years of his life, when he was writing The Brothers Karamazov. The apartment was turned into a museum in the late 1990s, so fans can head over to Vladimirskaya/Dostoyevskaya metro and run their hands across the woodwork or try to create a distraction so they can sit at his desk, pretending they too have a glorious beard and intense, world-weary eyes from years of political exile. (Right, Image courtesy of the University of Washington Libraries.)

Agatha Christie’s English summer home

The BBC features images of it pre-renovation here (left), while the Telegraph has some illuminating photos here.

Agatha Christie bought Greenway, a Georgian mansion on the southern tip of England, in the late 1930s. At the time, Christie bought the mansion and 33-acre property for £6,000, and then had an architect renovate it, reportedly telling him, “I want a big bath and I need a ledge because I like to eat apples.”

See the original Flavorwire post HERE

The article also showcases the homes of Norman Mailer, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Yukio Mishima, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and more.

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