Peeking Inside of Famous Writers’ Bedrooms

opening bedroom

I’ve only visited three famous writers’ domiciles – Yeats’ Tower, Thor Ballylee, in County Galway (1979); Shakespeare’s birth house in Warwickshire (1995); and a home Frost lived in on a side of a road somewhere in New Hampshire (2007).

It felt like calling on the dead – the houses restored, sort of Disneyesque, way too un-lived in.

A while back, a friend posted on her FaceBook page a photograph of Walt Whitman’s bedroom back in the day. Alas, the image somehow conjured the Muse of PhotoShopping, Plagiaria. Alas, I say, because no way I have the artistic talent to pull off the idea Plagiaria whispered in my ear.

Anyway, let’s take a peek into the Barbaric Yapper’s bedroom.

Whitman's bedroom

Whitman’s bedroom

(More about the bedroom later)

My idea, which I am bestowing to any 3-D artist out there, is to use the concept of a bedroom as a representation of an author’s interior life, his or her unconscious as it were, each installation with a window looking out (hence not an attic) onto the world the artist perceived – dingy Dublin brownstones for Mr. James Joyce/Lucy-in-the-Sky butterflies flitting just outside the window of Miss Emily Dickinson.

Ernest-Hemingway-9334498-1-402-2

Take Ernesto Hemingway, par example.

ernest-hemingway21

His mother called him Ernestine and dressed him like a girl.

dress

Here’s a crude approximation of Hemingway’s unconscious installed in EA Poe’s dorm room at UVA:

hemingway collage

Obviously, an actual artist could do better, perhaps creating a doll-house, each room devoted to a different writer from a different era, vestiges of influence sprinkled about, La Commedia on Eliot’s bedside table next to an overloaded ashtray of unfiltered Pall Malls.

Art On Pall Mall

At any rate, what strikes me about the actual bedrooms of these writers, except for Whitman’s, is how spartan they are. For example, here’s where Yeats slept at Thor Ballylee:

TPG392639 Bedroom with the bed of W. B. Yeats (b/w photo) by .; Thoor Ballylee, County Galway, Ireland; (add.info.: William Butler Yeats (1865-1938) Irish poet and dramatist; bed made by a local carpenter;);  out of copyright

Barely a step up from Thoreau’s:

Thoreau's Walden Pond bedroom

Thoreau’s Walden Pond bedroom

Of course, there are exceptions. Truman Capote lay him down to sleep here:

03truman_capote_rect540

And Virginia Woolf in this swanky boudoir:

The interior of Virginia Woolf's bedroom at Monks House, East Sussex

Flannery O’Connor’s bedroom looks like just what you would expect:

tumblr_m1wsflYTvV1qzh8wko1_500

And, finally, the bedroom where this barely published poet/fiction writer/blogger tosses and turns:

bedroom 3-2

At any rate, we all can be thankful that we’re not the inhabitant of this bedroom:

Marcel Proust on his death bed

Marcel Proust on his death-bed

Good night, sweet Marcel, and Happy 4th of July to the rest of you!

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