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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Google Maps Tour of Famous Authors’ Homes


COURTESY OF Claire Cottrell

A Google Maps Tour of Famous Authors’ Homes

Awhile back we took a virtual tour of Old Hollywood film locations from last year’s Best Picture-winner, The Artist. Because there’s nothing we love more than virtual globetrotting and literary legends, we thought we’d take a gander at some of the more notable places that our favorite authors have lived. Hey, why not? From Joan Didion’s sprawling sun drenched estate that was her beloved Quintana Roo’s first home to the narrow passage where Ernest Hemingway lived while writing his ode to Paris, click through to check out Google’s rendition of significant literary locations around the world.

Ernest Hemingway’s apartment at 113 Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs — Paris France
Image credit: Google Maps
Sadly the little apartment Hemingway shared with his first wife, Hadley, and their son Bumby is long gone. However, according to an American blogger living in Paris, a secret passage from the expat heyday is still there. Hemingway describes the shortcut in A Moveable Feast, by writing that he walked out of his apartment and often cut into the back door of a boulangerie as a shortcut up to the main drag – Blvd. Montparnasse. Fun fact: As an homage to the literary legend, someone painted an image of Hemingway on the back door of the boulangerie that you can still see today.

Joan Didion’s Gatehouse at 5500 Palos Verdes Drive South — Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Image credit: Google Maps
In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion describes the home where she and her husband, John Dunne, lived briefly by writing, “One day I would notice a familiar stretch of coastal highway in a television commercial and realize it was the gate house, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula at Portuguese Bend, to which John and I had brought Quintana home from St. John’s Hospital. Neither the house nor its gate could be seen in the commercial but I experienced a sudden rush of memories: getting out of the car on that highway to open the gate so that John could drive through; watching the tide come in and float a car that was sitting on our beach to be shot for a commercial; sterilizing bottles for Quintana’s formula while the gamecock that lived on the property followed me companionably from window to window.”

William Burroughs’ ‘Bunker’ at 222 Bowery — New York, New York
Image credit: Google Maps
After years of living in Paris and London, Burroughs returned to New York City in 1974 and shared an apartment with the painter, Mark Rothko. Dubbed ‘The Bunker,’ it was then a partially converted YMCA, complete with lockers and communal showers. Just down the street from the New Museum, the ground floor now houses Green Depot, the nation’s leading supplier of environmentally friendly building products, services and home solutions.

Patti Smith’s Chelsea Hotel apartment at 222 West 23rd Street – New York, New York
Image credit: Google Maps
OK, so pretty much everyone lived, and some still live, at New York’s first co-op apartment building turned artist’s hotel, but our favorite one-time resident has to be the one-and-only Patti Smith, who lived here with her then lover and lifelong friend, Robert Mapplethorpe. Other artists passing through included: Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Thomas Wolfe, Tennessee Williams, Leonard Cohen, Arthur Miller, William Burroughs, Jackson Pollock, Donald Sutherland, Christo, Arthur C. Clarke, Andy Warhol, Jane Fonda, and Bob Dylan.

E.E. Cummings’ three-room studio at 11 Christopher Street — New York, New York
Image credit: Google Maps
E.E. Cummings apparently described the tiny West Village apartment that he lived in briefly as “the best studio in New York.” He paid $30 dollars a month for three furnished rooms with tall windows.
Jack Kerouac’s girlfriend’s courtyard apartment at 307 West 11th Street — New York, New York
Image credit: Google Maps
Kerouac crashed with his girlfriend at the time, Helen Weaver, at this gorgeous courtyard apartment. While he was there he revised On the Road and wrote part of Desolation Angels , which mentions this building and its “Dickensian windows.” Fun fact: Photographer Annie Liebowitz now owns it.
John Steinbeck’s fish hatchery home at 2400 Lake Forest Road — Sunnyside-Tahoe City, California
Image credit: Google Maps
John Steinbeck lived at what is today the Tahoe City Field Station, working as a caretaker at the fish hatchery. He lived in a little wooden cottage behind the main building after dropping out of Standford to write his first novel, Cup of Gold, a swashbuckling Caribbean pirate romance. Story has it that he got himself fired from the hatchery for womanizing and shooting holes in the ceiling of the tiny abode.
Mark Twain’s childhood home at 120 North Main Street — Hannibal, Missouri
Image credit: Google Maps
Mark Twain’s childhood home on the west bank of the Mississippi River is now the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum. He lived here from 1844 to 1853, and found inspiration for many of his stories in and around Hannibal’s quaint Main Street. Fun fact: Tom Sawyer’s legendary white picket fence encloses the humble home’s property. You can see it in the foreground of the Google Street View.
William Shakespeare’s parish residence at Great St Helen’s — London, England
Image credit: Google Maps
The old stone parish was the first place Shakespeare lived in London. Today it sits in the shadow of Norman Foster’s giant glass Gherkin.
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s apartment at 5/2 Kuznechny Lane — St. Petersburg, Russia
Image credit: Google Maps
The former apartment of the famous writer is now the F. M. Dostoevsky Literary Memorial Museum. Although he didn’t live here his entire life, he did write two of his most notable works while living in the building, The Double: A Petersburg Poem and his last novel, The Brothers Karamazov which he finished shortly before his death in 1881.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it interesting. 

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