Rowan Oak, the home of southern author William Faulkner, was rededicated over the weekend after undergoing a $1.3 million restoration. The Oxford, Mississippi home is now open to the public and draws thousands of visitors each year to the place where Faulkner wrote many of his famous works.
Speaking of literary landmarks, I also read that the gritty and sometimes dark real-life landmarks featured in Irvine Welsh‘s Trainspotting are now becoming a tourist attraction for the port area of Leith in Edinburgh, Scotland. The walking tours have become so popular that many wonder if they’ve begun to overshadow some of the city’s more classic literary roots.
A little closer to home, I recently took the opportunity to visit the grave of Edgar Allan Poe while spending the weekend in Baltimore. The experience was appropriately gothic and uneasy, as we carefully navigated the pathways between half-sunken tombs and broken headstones. Early last year I visited Richmond, Virginia and the house where Poe lived during the time he spent in that city. After visiting both places, I definitely have a better appreciation of the scenery behind some of Poe’s work — all modern developments aside.
Do you find that you seek out literary landmarks when travelling — whether it’s an author’s home, a grave or even the backdrop for a story? What landmarks have you been able to experience and which are on your list of must-see places? What do you think is the motivation for visiting these literary landmarks? A history lesson, maybe? An added insight into an author’s work?
By the way: if you’re not up for travelling or if Rowan Oak isn’t on your list of literary destinations, you can always visit it online. The University of Mississippi offers a nice virtual tour along with an interactive timeline of Faulkner’s writing.