If you’re like us, and you hear that you’re in an area that is home to a place that has any little bit of literary historical significance, you have to go and visit it. Since (statistically speaking) there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll soon be hopping in your car or your friend’s car, or boarding a train, bus, plane, or some other mode of transportation that will bring you to another place that isn’t the city you spend the rest of the year living in, we’ve compiled this list of literary places all over the world that you should visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood.
Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, CT
While we’re in no way trying to get you to avoid Mark Twain’s birthplace in Missouri, Twain’s house and museum in Hartford, CT is a sight to behold with its Tiffany-designed walls and ceilings, the knowledgeable tour guides, and the Twain made out of LEGO.
Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace and Museum, Oak Park, IL
Herman Melville’s grave, Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY
Willa Cather’s childhood home, Red Cloud, Nebraska
Willa Cather came to Nebraska from Virginia when she was nine years old. She said that her time spent in Red Cloud ended up being the most formative years of her life as a person and writer, and it is easy to understand that with a trip to her childhood home.
Oscar Wilde’s childhood home, Dublin, Ireland
Baruch Spinoza’s house, The Hague, Netherlands
Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, MA
Yasnaya Polyana (Leo Tolstoy’s home), Russia
The place where Leo Tolstoy was born, wrote both War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and is buried is located about 120 miles outside of Moscow, and was once occupied by the Nazis for 45 days during the Second World War. Thankfully, 110 crates filled with the exhibits of the museum were evacuated to Moscow before the Germans occupied the former home of one of Russia’s greatest writers.
The Mount (Edith Wharton’s home), Lenox, MA
Go to see where one of America’s greatest authors lived, stay to check out the dog cemetery, and maybe do a fashion shoot with some of today’s literary all-stars.
William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, Oxford, MS
The Scribner Building and Charles Scribner’s Sons Building, New York, NY
These two Ernest Flagg-designed Beaux Arts buildings can both be viewed with one walk down New York’s Fifth Avenue. How important was Scribner’s to the literary world? Just read Patti Smith’s Just Kids:
I needed to get another job. My friend Janet Hamill had been hired at Scribner’s Bookstore, and she found a way of giving me a helping hand by sharing her good fortune. She spoke to her superiors, and they offered me a position. It seemed like a dream job, working in the retail store of the prestigious publisher, home to writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and their editor, the great Maxwell Perkins. Where the Rothschilds bought their books, where paintings by Maxfield Parrish hung in the stairwell.
The windmill at the Stony Brook Southampton campus, Southampton, NY
In 1957, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams lived in the campus windmill and wrote the play The Day on Which a Man Dies as a response to the death of his friend, Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock.
O. Henry House and Museum, Austin, TX
Jorge Luis Borges’s Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you find yourself in the South American city, read this New York Times piece on the hometown of the famous writer and how it influenced his work.
Nietzsche-Haus, Sils-Maria, Switzerland
The house where the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche lived during the summers of 1881 and 1883 to 1888 offers a library that contains one of the world’s largest multilingual collections of books on the philosopher.
Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, Atlanta, GA
Bronte Parsonage Museum, West Yorkshire, England
Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home, Savannah, GA
Charles Dickens Museum, London, England
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Indianapolis, Indiana
Truman Capote’s apartment, Brooklyn, NY
Gogol House, Moscow, Russia
Dorothy Parker Birthplace, Long Branch, NJ
One of America’s great fantasy writers lived in Providence for most of his life, so a walk or drive through the city might help you to better understand the man and his work.
Maison de Balzac, Paris, France
In a city lousy with literary landmarks, the modest home that is the former residence of French novelist Honoré de Balzac is one of the places you must not miss out on.
Karl Marx House, Trier, Germany
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, Hannibal, MO
The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul, Turkey
Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk created the museum in tandem with his eponymous novel. Both the novel and museum offer a glimpse into the lives of wealth Turkish citizens between the 1970s and 2000s.
Walden Pond, Concord, MA
Every person should experience the natural beauty of the place that influenced Henry David Thoreau to write Walden; or, Life in the Woods.
City Lights Books, San Francisco, CA
Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Richmond, VA
Monk’s House, East Sussex, England
The cottage purchased by Virginia and Leonard Woolf in 1918 became a hub for Bloomsbury Group activity.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthplace, St. Paul, MN
Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France
The largest cemetery in Paris is the final resting place of Oscar Wilde, Honoré de Balzac, and many of the nation’s greatest authors.
Walking around James Joyce’s Dublin, Ireland
Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX
The University of Texas archive, library, and museum houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art, including three copies of the First Folio of William Shakespeare’s plays, The Cardigan manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and manuscript collections of James Joyce, Graham Green, David Foster Wallace, Anne Sexton, Don DeLillo, and many others.
Franz Kafka’s grave, The New Jewish Cemetery, Prague
Les Deux Magots, Paris, France
The famous Parisian café where Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and many others hung out.
Edward Gorey House, Yarmouth Port, MA
John Updike’s home, Shillington, PA
Nabokov House, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Green Gables, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Chekhov Library, Taganrog, Russia
Henry Miller Memorial Library, Big Sur, CA
Edgar Allan Poe’s grave, Baltimore, MD
Even though the Poe Toaster hasn’t shown up for the last few years, you really can’t miss a chance to visit Poe’s grave.
Jane Austen’s House and Museum, Hampshire, England
Poetry Foundation, Chicago, IL
Opened in the summer of 2011, the Poetry Foundation’s building is not only the center for poetry in Chicago, but maybe the entire country.
Arthur Rimbaud’s House, Harar, Ethiopia
After he stopped writing at the age of 20, Rimbaud moved to East Africa, where he became a coffee trader, an arms dealer, a photographer, and an explorer.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, NY
Washington Irving’s grave is adjacent to the Old Dutch Church, whose small burying ground is identified in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” as the resting place of the headless horseman.
The Algonquin Hotel, New York, NY
You won’t find Dorothy Parker and Harold Ross trading bon mots there anymore, but it’s worth just walking into the famous Manhattan hotel and checking out the place that was home to the famous Algonquin Round Table.