Scott’s Abbotsford, Irving’s Sunnyside, and Shakespeare’s New Place
Chapter 8 explores the ways that nineteenth-century writers constructed houses as ‘enchanted ground’ to display their own mythos as national writers. It argues that these houses initiate and model the very concept of the writer’s house as museum, modelling how the writer’s physical and imaginative life work in mysterious symbiosis and amalgamation. It argues further that such houses—and their ‘enchanted grounds’—dramatized the way the writer’s imagination has saved and reanimated the hitherto mute detritus of the nation’s past. It focuses on Walter Scott’s self-dramatization at Abbotsford and the transatlantic portability of that model in Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, and concludes by looking at a modern reiteration of some of these ideas in the redevelopment of Shakespeare’s New Place for the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.
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