Novel Houses: Twenty Famous Fictional Dwellings

Many beloved novels have place at their heart—and often even in their title. Novel Houses visits unforgettable dwellings in twenty legendary works of English and American fiction, exploring how Uncle Tom’s Cabin came to start the American Civil War, why Bleak House is used as the name of a happy home, and what Jane Austen had in mind when she worked out the plot for Mansfield Park. Taking up the importance of 221B Baker Street to Sherlock Holmes, and of Bag-End to the hobbits who called it home, the book also sheds fresh light on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, and the real-life settings of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and E. M. Forster’s Howards End. Throughout, the book invites us to consider how houses, while so fundamental to these stories, also reveal much about their authors’ passions and preoccupations. A stimulating combination of literary criticism, geography, and biography, this is an entertaining and insightful celebration of beloved novels and the extraordinary role that houses play—whether grand or small, unique or ordinary, real or imagined.

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