House of Fiction
From Pemberley to Brideshead, Great British Houses in Literature and Life
From the gothic fantasies of Walpole’s Otranto to post-modern takes on the country house by Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan, Phyllis Richardson guides us on a tour through buildings real and imagined to examine how authors’ personal experiences helped to shape the homes that have become icons of English literature.
We encounter Jane Austen drinking ‘too much wine’ in the lavish ballroom of a Hampshire manor, discover how Virginia Woolf’s love of Talland House at St Ives is palpable in To the Lighthouse, and find Evelyn Waugh remembering Madresfield Court as he plots Charles Ryder’s return to Brideshead.
Drawing on historical sources, biographies, letters, diaries and the novels themselves, House of Fiction opens the doors to these celebrated houses, while offering candid glimpses of the writers who brought them to life.