I’m not even sure how I stumbled on this, but I am utterly charmed by this cranky discussion of homes as museums:
Here’s what I hate about Writers’ Houses: the basic mistakes. That art can be understood by examining the chewed pencils of the writer. That visiting such a house can substitute for reading the work. That real estate, including our own envious attachments to houses that are better, or cuter, or more inspiring than our own, is a worthy preoccupation. That writers can or should be sanctified. That private life, even of the dead, is ours to plunder.
Once long ago someone took me to visit Shakespeare’s house in Stratford. I couldn’t go inside; it felt like snooping, it felt like preening, as if we could own a piece of him for ourselves. As far as I know, the only way to claim our real inheritance from Shakespeare is by reading and studying and memorizing—and, if we are lucky, by acting—his words.
I totally get it, I do. But for me it’s more about history—what did a kitchen look like in the 1930s? in the 1830s?—and an insatiable love of Sunday afternoon open houses (if I got your hopes up, Ms. Realtor, please forgive me; I was just curious). A house museum is just my cup of tea! My fave is Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona.
UPDATE: There’s more on this subject here.
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