Writers Homes

Oxford – Lewis Carroll 2

Opposite Alice’s Shop (see previous post) is Christ Church College with its impressive main gateway topped by the Tom Tower. Designed by Christopher Wren and built in 1681, the tower houses Great Tom, a huge bell weighing more than six ton, which is rung every night.
Charles Dodgson lived in sight of the Tom Tower when he was a mathematics lecturer at Christ Church. Using the pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, he published Alice in Wonderland, after first telling the stories to Alice Liddell, the 10 year old daughter of the dean of the college.Christ Church Oxford

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Oxford – Tolkein

J. R. R. Tolkein (see previous post) was an undergraduate at Exeter College from 1911 to 1915, and Professor of Anglo Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College from 1925 to 1945. From 1945 to 1959, he was Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College.
Merton is one of the oldest Oxford colleges and the chapel is from 1289. We took a day trip to Oxford, during our visit to London in October 2016, and enjoyed a stroll along the river and up the High, remembering when we lived there for 12 months in the late 1970s.

Merton College Chapel Oxford

Geraldton – Randolph Stow

The seaside town of Geraldton, 415km north of Perth, was the birthplace of writer, Randolph Stow. Born on 28 November 1935, Stow wrote about his childhood in and around the town of Geraldton in the novel, “The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea”.
There are several different merry-go-rounds in the novel. The one in the sea was actually a shipwreck off the main swimming beach, but the beach has been redeveloped and the wreck is gone.

The second merry-go-round is the one that appears in the opening chapter of the novel. Amazingly, it is still there, beneath a spreading Moreton Bay fig tree alongside the old two storey library building. The current merry-go-round is a replica of the one in the novel, which had already fallen into disrepair during the closing chapters of the book.

Randolph Stow Geraldton 1

London – George Orwell

Have just finished reading “The Last Man in Europe” by Dennis Glover, which is a partly fictionalised biography of George Orwell. The book includes vivid descriptions of life in London during World War II. At the end of the war, Orwell was living at 27B Canonbury Square in Islington after his previous flat in Kilburn had been destroyed by a bomb. We visited Canonbury Square last year and posted a blog about a nearby interesting tower.
Now a gentrified neighbourhood, Canonbury Square was, when Orwell lived there, a working class area and he uses it as a setting for the home of Winston Smith in his last novel, “Nineteen Eighty Four”.

Canonbury Square View

 

Ferrara – Ariosto

Ludovico Ariosto, also from Ferrara, and from the same era as Savonarola (previous blog) had an entirely different outlook on life. He was a poet and playwright who first coined the word, “humanism”. He is most famous for the romantic epic poem, “Orlando Furiosa” which is a story of chivalric knights, but with fantasy elements, including a trip to the moon.
Ariosto’s house is now a small museum in Ferrara which is open Tuesday to Sunday and has free entry.

Ariosto Ferrara