Literary travel

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Literary travel is a form of tourism centred on great works of literature, literary movements, the literature surrounding cultural and political movements, or beloved authors. Just pick your favorite writer and do a little research: they all lived somewhere!

On a related "note," musical travel has its own highlights. We'll include some of them here too.

Some examples include:


Argentina[edit]

Anyone in Buenos Aires might look out for places associated with Borges.


Austria[edit]

Vienna is known as the City of Music because it has been the sometime home of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, the Strauss family, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Falco ("Rock Me Amadeus"), and Joe Zawinul. You can hear the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Wiener Musikverein. If you want to attend the New Year's Concert, you'll probably need to get tickets a few years in advance!

If the big city is too much, take a break with Mozart's childhood home in Salzburg.


Belgium[edit]

Lovers of Medieval music will know that the Tournai Mass was preserved in the cathedral here. If you are very lucky, you might be able to hear it sung here.


China[edit]

On the other side of the world, lovers of "The Dream of the Red Chamber" will want to spend a few hours contemplating the Garden of the Humble Administrator in Suzhou, and anyone who knows "The True Story of Ah Q" might want to visit Hangzhou, where Lu Xun was imprisoned.


France[edit]

Never to be outdone without a fight, Paris has no shortage of literary sites, especially on the Left Bank and Montparnasse. Paris's answer to Shakespeare's Globe Theater is the Comédie-Française, also known as the Théâtre-Français - and what a ripe subject for comparison and contrast! After paying your respect to the Lost Generation at Gertrude Stein's salon at 27 rue De Fleurs (and maybe also Natalie Clifford Barney's modestly titled Literary Salon of the Greats at 20 rue Jacob), you can shop in their footsteps at Shakespeare and Company or drink in their shadows at les Deus Magots, la Closerie des Lilas, or le Café de Flore. (A more contemporary version is l’Autre Café.) If you don't find Quasimodo at Notre-Dame de Paris, visit Hugo's house at 6 Place des Vosges, or enjoy the Basque cuisine at L’Auberge Etchegorry at 41 Rue de la Croulebarb, where he used to enjoy the Cabaret de Madame Grégoire. Or party like Arthur Miller at Brasserie Wepler (14 Place de Clichy).

For contemporary poetry readings, check out La Maison Poesie, close to the Pompidou Centre, or, especially if you want to hear the empire write back, Culture Rapide. No bibliophile should leave Paris without a visit to the one-of-a-kind bookstore Tea and Tattered Pages, or the reading room in the back of La Fumoir. At Musée de la vie Romantique you can find out almost anything you'd want to know about George Sand; the Hôtel de Lauzun on the Île St. Louis inspired Baudelaire to write Fleurs du Mal - what effect will it have on you? Search for lost time viewing Proust's bedroom at the Musée Carnavalet, or, if the touristy morbidity doesn't offend you, visit the Cimetière de Montparnasse to find the graves of many of your favorite authors, or look for the wallpaper that killed Oscar Wilde at l’Hôtel in the 6th Arrondissement, though you might prefer to enjoy the literary kitsch at the Apostrophe Hotel, or sleep where your heroes did at l’Hôtel Pont Royal. If you seek to join their ranks, you can consider joining a writing workshop with Paris Café Writing. When you win your own Nobel Prize, celebrate like Camus did, at La Coupole (102 Boulevard du Montparnasse). Evidently there are even Da Vinci Code themed tours! Even if that's not your thing, you might enjoy eating in the restaurant at Nicholas Flamel's house at 52 rue de Montmorency, the oldest stone house in Paris.

The Loire Valley: if you can afford to stay there long enough, there could be no better place to read Dumas or Perrault. Balzac wrote some novels there too.

Around Rouen you can find places claiming to have associations with Madame Bovary as well as a museum dedicated to Flaubert in the home where he was born.

The medieval Play of Daniel was composed in Beauvais.


Germany[edit]

Fans of Bach will want to see the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig (the Bach Museum is across the street).

You'll have to plan about a decade ahead if you hope to attend the Richard Wagner festival at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Bayreuth Festival Theater) in Bayreuth, but while you're there you won't want to miss the Margravial Opera either.

In Halberstadt you can hear a little bit of Cage's "ASLSP" at any time in the next 500 years or so.


India[edit]

Fans of Rabindrinath Tagore will enjoy Santiniketan.


Ireland[edit]

Fans of Joyce will want to walk Ulysses in Dublin, especially on Bloom's Day (16 June). The diehards will even go to Ithaka. You know who you are.


Italy[edit]

Like E. M. Forster's characters in A Room With a View, you'll want to look down on the tourists around you who do not share your refined tastes! You might demonstrate your snobby superiority taking a walking tour of "Dante's Florence, or contemplating the complexities of Brumel's "Nuper rosarum flores" under Brunelleschi's Dome.


Japan[edit]

Aspiring novelists might find inspiration at Ishiyamadera Temple in Otsu, where Murasaki Shikibu is believed to have written (or at least begun to write) "The Tale of Genji".

Then take the Narrow Road to the Deep North.


New Zealand[edit]

The locations where the Lord of the Rings cinematic trilogy was filmed.


Norway[edit]

The Millennium Tour in Stockholm, inspired by Stieg Larsson's novel series


Romania[edit]

The undead must visit Castle Bran in Transylvania and other sites associated with the Dracula legends.


Russia[edit]

If Russian literature is your thing, you'll want to take the famed Murder Walk in Dostoevsky's neighborhood of Saint Petersburg. In Moscow you can take a tour of sites from Bulgakov's Master and Margarita. Near Tula is Yasnaya Polyana, where Tolstoy wrote both "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina".


South Africa[edit]

About 90 miles outside of Durban, Alan Paton fans can find Ixopo, and look for the lovely road that runs from there into the hills.


South Korea[edit]

The Tripitaka Koreana in storage at Haeinsa.

Gayasan Mountain National Park includes Haeinsa Temple, where the Tripitaka Koreana, a landmark in woodblock printing, is held.

Tongyeong is often visited because it is the setting of Land by Park Kyeong-Ni.


Spain[edit]

Any Anglophone who runs with the bulls in Pamplona (or even thinks of it) follow the footsteps of Brett and Jake in "The Sun Also Rises".


Turkey[edit]

Pamuk's "The Museum of Innocence" actually exists in Istanbul.


United Kingdom[edit]

Literary London gets its own page on Wikivoyage. London has plenty of musical highlights too: No one is a true Beatlemaniac until they have photographed themselves at the zebra crossing in front of Abbey Road Studios.

Anyone who ever longed to have their own bodice ripped by Rochester or Heathcliff would want to visit Brontë Country in West Yorkshire. If you're not afraid of Virginia Woolf, visit Monk's House in East Sussex. Or search for King Arthur in Tintagel and Glastonbury. Besides what you'd find in London, Broadstairs is dedicated to Dickens.

Perhaps more of us would prefer to visit Hartfield, the setting of the Winnie the Pooh stories, or Cumbria where various sites associated with Beatrix Potter can be found.

The Hebrides shouldn't need Mendelssohn's help to get you there, but if that's what it takes, you'll thank Mendelssohn.


United States of America[edit]

Nirvana fans: Aberdeen, Washington invites you to 'Come as you are.'

The Americas have their own sites. Any little Anne can visit the actual Green Gables on Prince Edward Island. Fans of Thoreau's "Walden" might want to visit Concord (Massachusetts). You won't find the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow, but you can find Washington Irving's grave there. Travelers to Hartford can visit both the Mark Twain House and Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Library. Head west in the footsteps of the Beats, or follow Route 66 like the Joads in "Grapes of Wrath". You can find Cannery Row in Monterey, California; nearby are many places dedicated to the memory of Steinbeck. There are several sites related to "the book" (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) in Savannah, particularly Forsythe Park.

Every hardcore jazz fan should find themselves in New Orleans at least once, and at Birdland or the Blue Note in New York City more than once. Country music lovers don't need to be told about Nashville. If you want to hear Beale Street talk, you'll have to go to Memphis.

In Houston, fans of Morton Feldman can visit the actual Rothko Chapel.


Stay safe[edit]

Visit the "stay safe" sections of the Wikivoyage places for wherever you go, and remember that just because your favorite authors chain-smoked or enjoyed some absinth dreams doesn't mean you should! (If you must read and walk, read A Book Lover's Guide to Reading and Walking at the Same Time!)

See also[edit]

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