Guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for Books.so
Many travel attractions in the world are associated with famous public figures, historic characters and heroes of the past. Outstanding writers and novelists are not an exception; probably, every country can boast of some writer, who contributed to national literary treasury and advanced it abroad. Monuments and sightseeing spots related to knights of the pen or characters from their books are dispersed worldwide. A big and peculiar share is comprised of house museums or former houses of writers, where they lived and worked on their future masterpieces.
Paris is one of the most cherished and visited travel destinations in Europe, usually associated with romance, bridges across the Seine River and Eifel Tower. Honore de Balzac described all the character and temper of Parisian society better than any other French writer. His house on Rue Raynouard was transformed into museum in 1949, joining the house of Victor Hugo and Museum of Romantic Life, dedicated to George Sand. In particular, Honore de Balzac lived on Rue Raynouard during 1840-1847, hiding from the creditors under the name of his housemaid. If visiting museum, tourists might look at Balzac’s portraits, his desk and chair, household items, but the most valuable part is a library of writer’s manuscripts, gathered on the groundfloor in 1971.
A real pillar of Russian literature, whose amazing short stories and plays stroke the world, Anton Chekhov, lived in Yalta (Ukraine). He settled in this city in 1898 and built a nice mansion and a coach house a year later, known till nowadays as “White Country-House”. Here the author worked on the most famous literary masterpieces, such as The Cherry Orchard, The Lady and The Dog, Three Sisters, gladly welcomed Leo Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky, and enjoyed life with his family (in particular, he moved in with his mother and sister). At present, various exhibitions dedicated to Chekhov’s biography and literary career are arranged and introduced to visitors’ attention.
In Denmark Hans Christian Andersen is acknowledged not only a great storyteller, but as a national hero. Hence, there is no surprise his house in Odense was turned into a house museum, and every sightseeing spot in the town is linked to his biography and literary career. The author was born in Odense in 1805. Many monuments and sculptures around the city portray the writer himself and the characters from fairy tales, for instance, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Thumbelina. Hans Christian Andersen House Museum also hosts a large library with translated books of famous Danish author, the special room of his artifacts, notes about his meeting with Charles Dickens, inkwell and pen of the great storyteller, etc.
Jane Austen, an image of Victorian Era in English culture, has also left her house in its entirety and good condition, which is located in Chawton. In 17th century mansion she has written Emma, Pride And Prejudice, Persuasion and many other exciting novels. At present it appears to be Jane Austen’s House Museum that uncovers the story of her life, preserves her letters and music books, the piano, on which she played a couple hours daily, tea sets, etc. Everything reflect a real English temper form her romantic novels.
Mark Twain’s House and Museum in Hartford is likely to be the most visited sightseeing spot in the area. Its collection preserves nearly 10 thousand items, related to life and professional work of the American writer. Hartford residents tried to restore the house as it was during lifetime of Mark Twain’s family. Collected writer’s personal belongings, furniture, archival materials allowed to formally establish the house-museum of Mark Twain in 1980-1981. Its restoration, as well as the completion of the exhibits, continues even today.