The Impact of Post-Writer Histories on the Significance of UK Literary Houses

By James Pardoe.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

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By exploring case studies from the UK, this paper investigates how post-writer histories of literary houses impact on the understanding of the lives and works of associated writers. The boundaries of this paper have been dictated by its place within twenty-first century manifestations of the survival, conservation and reproduction of literary houses associated with three writers active in the early nineteenth century: Lord Byron, John Keats and Sir Walter Scott. Many of the works within the literary house genre highlight the significance of the link between writers and their audiences. These links are created through the establishment of houses as sites of remembrance, as memorials, and as sensory markers. However, whereas commentators concentrate on the links being direct, this paper shows that the association is based on narratives filtered through those who were subsequently responsible for the houses. Consequently, the interpretation prevalent in the houses in the twenty-first century are the result of a long history based on the writers, and what was considered their significance by others over approximately two hundred years.

Keywords: Literary, Houses, Conservation, Interpretation, Aura, Memorials, Sensory, Markers

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.27-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 620.175KB).

Dr. James Pardoe

Senior Lecturer, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Chester, Chester, Cheshire, UK

I am a Senior Lecturer responsible for Heritage Management at the University of Chester, UK on both History and Archaeology programmes. I have worked at the University of Chester since 1991. During this time I have also been a visiting lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Warwick, the Ironbridge Institute and Eotvos Lorand University of Budapest. I have experience in museums dating back to 1986 including working for the National Trust, English Heritage, Shropshire Regimental Museums, Chester City Museums, Nottingham Museums (Newstead Abbey) and the Abbotsford Museum Trust. My research interests focus on heritage management, literary tourism, museology, landscape history, country houses, access for disabled people to the historic environment and modern history (Eastern Europe). I have worked as a consultant in these areas for a number of organizations both in the UK and abroad, including work on exhibitions and EU funded projects. I have also acted on the committee for the Association of Heritage Interpretation.