By Simon Goldhill

The Victorian period used to be the excessive element of literary tourism. Writers comparable to Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Sir Walter Scott grew to become celebrities, and readers trekked everywhere for a glimpse of the locations the place their heroes wrote and notion, walked and talked. Even Shakespeare was once roped in, as Victorian marketers remodeled quiet Stratford-upon-Avon right into a mix shrine and vacationer trap.

Stratford maintains to entice the travelers at the present time, as do many different websites of literary pilgrimage all through Britain. And our sleek age may have no greater consultant to such locations 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 place of work in Hampstead. touring, up to attainable, by means of equipment on hand to Victorians—and gamely negotiating distractions starting from damaged bicycles to a flock of laughing eastern schoolgirls—he attempts to figure what our forebears have been searching for at those websites, in addition to what they need to say to the fashionable brain. What does it topic that Emily Brontë’s hidden passions burned during this particular room? What does it suggest, specially now that his popularity has light, that Scott self-consciously equipped an extravagant fort compatible for Ivanhoe—and star-struck travelers visited it whereas he used to be nonetheless residing there? Or that Freud's meticulous game of his Vienna place of work 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 shuttle ebook like no different, a reminder that even this present day, the writing lifestyles nonetheless has the facility to inspire.

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