Literary Tourism: Saving Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Home

Interesting posting on the Victoria listserv about the home Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Hound of the Baskervilles from. Undershaw House has been bought by property developers who want to tear it down and build condos of some sort. As D.E. Meredith notes in her blog post, the forces of good have been trying to preserve the house, hopefully so it can be turned into a museum. A colleague of mine is becoming interested in literary tourism. Our Maymester program essentially functions as a kind of literary tourism, and it’s something I’m becoming interested in because of her enthusiasm. Plus, it sounds like a fantastic job for some of our majors. I think one of the aims of literary tourism is preservation of cultural heritage. I know it seems odd to preserve spaces where writers lived, but space and writing are inextricably linked. Elizabeth Gaskell long for the South of England, and her last novel Wives and Daughters evokes that space so well I think because she finally managed to buy a house there. Never mind that William, her husband, never saw the house–it was intended as a gift to him–or that she died there. I think just owning part of the South gave Gaskell inspiration.

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