Book: American Writers at Home


As he wrote Moby-Dick, Herman Melville imagined that his study had become a whaling ship’s cabin. In pencil tracings still visible today, William Faulkner plotted the intricate webs of his fiction on his walls. In these and myriad other ways the imaginations of the twenty-one writers profiled in this book transformed their surroundings, even as those surroundings shaped the character and context of their classic works. The photographic and literary portraits in this elegant and engaging book reveal as never before how important place—a sense of home—has been in the creation of our greatest writing.

Ranging from Big Sur to coastal Maine, and including writers as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, Frederick Douglass, and Louisa May Alcott, American Writers at Home takes readers on a tour of the American literary heritage that is at once grand and intimate. We ramble through the turn of the century estates of Edith Wharton and Mark Twain and nestle into the humbler homes of Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. We are admitted into private—and in most cases remarkably unchanged—spaces that bore witness to genius, where Edna St. Vincent Millay’s dresses still hang in the closet and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s thoughts remain inscribed on the windowpane in his study. Throughout, we see how the personal passions, creative idiosyncrasies, and often profound sorrows of these writers have shaped the books we love most.

The Library Association of America

American Writers at Home
By J. D. McClatchy (Author)
Erica Lennard (Photographer)


[Thanks Johnny!]

2 thoughts on “Book: American Writers at Home

  1. Thanks Johnny…this looks like a great book. I had the opportunity last week to visit Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord, Mass. As a lifelong fan, it was thrilling to see.

  2. I have a copy that I received as a gift when it came out. It’s really very nice, much more than the “coffee table book” I thought it would be:) There are some nice essays. I wish they have included Hemingway’s Cuban house, too, but at least they didn’t forget Papa:)

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