A year ago, we took you on an online tour of the childhood homes of seven of our favourite authors. And though it was really neat to see where these great men and women first began, we found that many of the authors’ families moved around when they were young and these were not necessarily the places the writers spent the majority of their lives or careers.
For this edition of Literary Landmarks we’re moving into adulthood and visiting the homes that the writers were actually living in when they wrote some of their best work. Home is where the heart is, after all, so there is no doubt that living in these homes directly impacted each author’s emotional headspace.
Check out the list below to see which stops you would like to add on your next “literary tourism” vacation!
The Emily Dickinson Homestead
Located in Massachusetts, the Emily Dickinson Museum is divided into two parts: the Homestead and the Evergreens. Both interesting places to visit in their own right, it’s the Homestead that was actually home to Dickinson during her most productive writing period (1858–1865). Both buildings are open to the public, and the Museum is constantly undergoing efforts to return it to the exact condition it was in (paint colour and all) when Dickinson lived there.
Image Source: Emily Dickinson Museum
No, this isn’t Roanoke, the mysterious colony of early America. This Rowan Oak, in Mississippi, is the former home of William Faulkner and his family. Sitting in four acres of cedar and oak forest, Rowan Oak’s rich history never failed to inspire Faulkner in his tales of classically American life. In fact, it was here that he wrote the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Fable. The home is now open to the public, including school and tour groups.
Image Source: Rowan Oak
This former home of Nikolai Gogol was both the birthplace and final resting grounds for his follow-up to Dead Souls. Souls, Gogol’s final novel, was meant to be the first in a trilogy, but he never published the final two books before his death in 1852. And it’s unlikely we will ever know how he intended to follow up this Russian masterpiece – he burned all the manuscripts here at his Moscow home. Today, the building is lovingly maintained as a memorial museum and research library.
Image Source: Gogol’s House Memorial Museum and Research Library
The Margaret Mitchell House
You may be disappointed to note that this estate is not actually called “Tara.” But aside from that it truly is the home of Gone With the Wind! This turn-of-the century, three-story, Tudor Revival building is the place where Margaret Mitchell lived and wrote her Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Operated by the Atlanta History Center, the home is open year-round to the public and hosts a variety of literature events, including children’s camps, guided tours and lecture series.
Image Source: Atlanta History Center
Virginia and Leonard Woolf moved to this cozy country retreat in 1919, often hosting their Bloomsbury Group contemporaries until Virginia’s death in 1941. So beloved was their Sussex cottage that Leonard stayed until he passed away in 1969, and they both are buried on the grounds. Today, visitors can tour the home as it was during the Woolfs’ marriage, and get a peek inside the meeting place of some of England’s most influential writers and intellects of the 20th century.
Image Source: UK National Trust
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