I fantasize that one day, I’ll be able to write a whole book about this fellow John Chetwode Eustace, a much-maligned Irish-Catholic priest who went under the gauntlet posthumously in Little Dorrit. I can’t thank Dickens enough for deriding him, however, because otherwise I would never have found out about the man who wrote one of the most important proto-guidebooks of the nineteenth century, and I would never have published this, my finest work, in Studies in Romanticism.
Will be exploring what it offers and how it is formatted in more detail.
My own travel writing database is quite specific to the readings I’ve been doing for the past 5 years – whenever I stumble across a reference to a guidebook—sometimes within a guidebook—I put it in my list. My list has grown into a spreadsheet and at the moment, I’m trying to figure out what tags I want to use and how to notate the ways in which travelers used and referenced each others’ writings.
While my Storymap version of the Morrell chapter map is still in progress here, I completed a very thorough map using Google Maps of her route.
My goal in this map is to show the form of travel (train/boat/foot) rather than the precise routes and roads taken. Using the rather rough line-drawing tool of the platform was a good way to show the form (using color) – but the lines are rather blunt. The value of showing the type of travel for this chapter is in demonstrating A) how varied the transportation was for members of Morrell’s traveling group and B) just how much ground they covered nearly every single day. And they rose around 4am and fell asleep after 10pm regularly. Such robustness.
I plan to do a separate map to outline their four days in Paris at the tail end of their journey – such running about town on foot and feeling pushed around on omnibuses. (I’d like to find a good image of an 1860s omnibus!)
UCLA awarded me a fellowship to visit the Turner Bequest at the Tate Britain (curated by history’s worst curator, John Ruskin) and the glorious John Murray Archive at the National Library of Scotland. I plan to post more about this luxurious academic adventure – but first to Keats’ house (ok it was closed) and Kenwood House in the Heath.
From a childhood spent reading Victorian novels, I had already concocted some notions about what I believe a “Heath” should look like. I think those notions mainly stem from associations I’ve made with the name “Heathcliff.” In any case, I found myself gamboling around the Hampstead Heath for a few days at the beginning of my trip–and probably to the annoyance of my host, I insisted upon using that phrase to the exclusion of any others that would do the same descriptive job.
I stayed in a flat (Mom, that is what they call apartments there) overlooking the Heath-thankful for the hospitality of a friend from my undergraduate years. She lives across the street from where George Orwell lived and worked for many years and down the road from Keats’ old house. More importantly, she lives around the corner from Benedict Cumberbatch. Unfortunately, despite my repeated truly necessary detours by his street, I failed to spot him.
My friend informed me, to my great delight, that one can simply apply to be the caretaker of these National Trust homes. All you have to do is live upstairs and open the doors a couple times a week for visitors… Can this be true? I could die happy in Keats’ house.
We also paid a visit to Lord Mansfield’s manor right in the Heath: Kenwood House. I kept breathing that air, that air too pure for the lungs of slaves. The house had a few choice Rembrandts and the library was fully furnished with fake books. Just as one can go on Ebay now and buy “old books” to decorate your shelves (see pics), the lower shelves of Mansfield’s library were lined with boxes that had book bindings on the side that faced outwards. I discovered this when I went to touch one of them and the alarm went off. “The alarm goes off when you touch the books,” the guard on duty then informed me. …