THE WRITING ROOMS
Christine Hogan presents seven sacred sites for the literary pilgrim
Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton, Hampshire, England: Austen lived here from 1809 to 1817. See what she meant when she wrote: ‘‘ There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.’’ www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk.
The Bronte Parsonage and Museum, Haworth, West Yorkshire, England: Patrick Bronte, his wife Maria and their six children moved here in 1820. In the dining room, Charlotte, Emily and Anne did most of their writing, creating their canon of sibling masterpieces. www.bronte.org.uk.
Sissinghurst Castle, near Cranbrook, Kent, England: Vita Sackville-West was an avid gardener. ‘‘ A flowerless room is a soulless room,’’ she wrote. Her writing room is as she left it, on the first floor of a 16thcentury tower. www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Thoor Ballylee, Gort, County Galway, Ireland: To see where W. B. Yeats wrote The Tower and TheWindingStair , visit this charming 16th-century tower beside a stream. Yeats, with his wife and daughter, moved here in 1919. After they left in 1929, the tower fell into disuse but was restored in 1965. Now it is a museum, showing a collection of first editions and some of the poet’s furniture. www.all-ireland.com.
Maison de Balzac, Paris: This is the only house in which Honore de Balzac lived that still stands. Among the collection gathered here is a first edition of LaComedie Humaine. www.balzac.paris.fr.
Maison Victor Hugo, Paris: Overlooking the Place des Vosges is the large apartment where Victor Hugo, author of LesMiserables and TheHunchbackofNotreDame, lived with his family from 1832 until they were forced out by the 1848 revolution. On display are ephemera of the writer’s life: furniture, drawings, manuscripts, inkwell and first editions of his works. www.hugo-online.org.
Pablo Neruda’s house, Isla Negra, Chile: From his home on Isla Negra, Chile’s greatest poet watched the Pacific float away into the blue of the sky and wrote of what was in his line of sight. He is buried here with his muse, Matilde Urrutia. Neruda’s houses in Valparaiso and Santiago are also open to the public. www.visit-chile.org. about the past . . . I am only at home in the present.’’ He certainly isn’t at home in La Rondinaia any more. It is history to him now, as he is to it.
Sea muse: Neruda’s house at Valparaiso