Today is a freebie week for Top Ten Tuesday, and we thought to participate with 10 answers to a question that preoccupied us more than once before. It goes like this: what (real) places depicted in books you'd most like to visit? We are always imagining what it would be like to trace our favorite characters' footsteps, so we selected 10 literary places we would love to see, in no particular order, and the books that triggered this wish. Feel free to share your own answers and let's build a map of literary travel destinations!
1. New Orleans, Louisiana: One of the most colorful and historic cities in the United States, New Orleans also boasts of a rich literary history. It's the setting for Tennessee Williams' classic play, Streetcar Named Desire, and William Faulkner's early short stories, New Orleans Sketches, both showing the city's dark edge. Since Alexis is a Tennessee Williams fan and Claudia a William Faulkner groupie, you can see why the French Quarter is high on our list of places to see.
2. Dublin, Ireland: Do you know that Claudia spent quite some time in her life grappling with James Joyce and his work? That means that she needs a reward and visiting the setting of Dubliners and Ulysses might be just the thing. This is also the place she's most likely to visit in the near future.
3. Newport, Rhode Island: The summer playground of the Gilded Age's most elite citizens, it's no wonder this ultra-luxe resort town figures heavily in Edith Wharton's novels. Along with sweeping beach views, here you'll find some of the most glorious mansions ever created. Visit for a unique look back into the rarified world of Vanderbilts, Astors, and Whartons. (Also, Claudia needs to add, HENRY JAMES.)
4. Prince Edward Island, Canada: Prince Edward Island is home to one of the most beloved literary heroines of all-time, the irrepressible Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables -- and home to some of the most charming countryside in Canada. Alexis was a huge Anne of Green Gables fan growing up, so this idyllic setting is one she would love to revisit in real life.
5. Cartagena, Colombia: This one is cheating a little, because Cartagena is not mentioned by name in Gabriel García Márquez' Love in the Time of Cholera, but we know it was the inspiration for the city depicted there and, people, we would love to visit. There was something almost hypnotic about the descriptions in that book and it would be nice to see if reality can live up to magical realism or not.
6. Swiss Alps, Switzerland: This one is obvious: HEIDI! Who didn't dream of being Heidi? But there is more to it than that. The last part of Heminway's A Farewell to Arms, the escape to Switzerland when things are shortly better before they get worse, gives you such a feeling of relief that to this day it colors our idea of the Alps. We can't think of the Alps without thinking Catherine and Henry live in a hut there somewhere, having successfully escaped the patrols.
7. Jamaica: Jamaica you might be wondering? Well, it turns out that Jamaica has quite the literary pedigree, thanks to Jane Eyre and its parallel novel, Wide Sargasso Sea. In Jane Eyre, we learn that Rochester's first wife, the doomed Bertha Mason, grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica. Wide Sargasso Sea of course reimagines Bertha's story and her childhood on the lush Caribbean isle. Sign us up.
8. Savannah, Georgia: A true gem of a city, Savannah is the setting for the modern nonfiction classic, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the eccentic culture of one of American's oldest cities. Savannah is also the birthplace of Flannery O'Connor, one of the best-known voices in Southern literature. And it is the Southern city we'd most like to visit.
9. Florence, Italy: Many of our favorite novels take place in various cities in Italy, but Florence won, as the charming setting for E.M. Forster's A Room with a View and Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady. So happy endings, unhappy endings, Florence can foreshadow them all. Plus history and beautiful architecture. Oh, where did I put my Baedeker?
10. Lyme Regis, England: This town, or more particularly the Cobb, is the place where Anne Elliot proves herself to be trustworthy in a crisis in Jane Austen's Persuasion. It comes recommended by Jane Austen herself. And if that is not enough to convince you (although it should be), the Cobb also features in John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman. That famous scene of Sarah staring out to sea and looking very dramatic indeed? Now that we know where it takes place, we might just reenact it.
What about you? What literary places would you like to visit (or visited already)?