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This chapter introduces an enquiry into the writer’s house museum as an idea and cultural form, arguing that it begins to emerge in the late eighteenth century as a widespread phenomenon. Starting from the working hypothesis that such museums are primarily designed to effect a figure of the author through the preservation and display of belongings within quasi-domestic space, it opens an investigation into the ways that authorial remains, possessions, and spaces came to remediate and locate the simultaneous materiality/immateriality of the author in ways that typically conceived place as national. It sites its investigation within current scholarship, defines terms, lays out a methodology, offers a guide to the remainder of the book, and argues its timeliness.
Keywords: William Shakespeare, Birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon, John Milton, Milton’s Cottage Chalfont St Giles, Agatha Christie, Greenway, writer’s house museum, authorial object, authorial space, authorial time
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