By Simon Goldhill
The Victorian period used to be the excessive element of literary tourism. Writers reminiscent of Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Sir Walter Scott grew to become celebrities, and readers trekked all over for a glimpse of the areas the place their heroes wrote and notion, walked and talked. Even Shakespeare used to be roped in, as Victorian marketers remodeled quiet Stratford-upon-Avon right into a blend shrine and vacationer capture.
Stratford maintains to trap the travelers this present day, as do many different websites of literary pilgrimage all through Britain. And our smooth age may have no larger consultant to such areas than Simon Goldhill. In Freud's sofa, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë's Grave, Goldhill makes a pilgrimage to Sir Walter Scott's baronial mansion, Wordsworth's cottage within the Lake District, the Bront ë parsonage, Shakespeare's birthplace, and Freud's workplace in Hampstead. touring, up to attainable, by way of equipment to be had to Victorians—and gamely negotiating distractions starting from damaged bicycles to a flock of guffawing eastern schoolgirls—he attempts to determine what our forebears have been searching for at those websites, in addition to what they must say to the trendy brain. What does it subject that Emily Brontë’s hidden passions burned during this particular room? What does it suggest, in particular now that his reputation has pale, that Scott self-consciously equipped an extravagant fort compatible for Ivanhoe—and star-struck travelers visited it whereas he was once nonetheless residing there? Or that Freud's meticulous sport of his Vienna workplace is now a meticulously preserved museum of itself? Or that Shakespeare’s birthplace good points pupil actors declaiming snippets of his performs . . . within the backyard of a home the place he potentially by no means wrote a unmarried line?
Goldhill brings to those inquiries his trademark wry humor and a lifetime's engagement with literature. the result's a commute e-book like no different, a reminder that even this day, the writing lifestyles nonetheless has the facility to encourage.
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