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Walter Scott’s house is a monument to himself as a writer

By Simon Goldhill   October 2011

The entrance hall of Walter Scott’s home Abbotsford. The novelist designed a house that belonged in one of his books

I never used to understand why anyone wants to visit a writer’s house: aren’t the books enough? What would you really learn by staring at Martin Amis’s desk or Philip Roth’s kitchen table? The millions who process piously through Shakespeare’s house receive a full theme-park experience, with over-enthusiastic guides leading to the inevitable gift shop—although Shakespeare never wrote any of his plays in Stratford, and may not even have been born in the room displayed as the Bard’s birthplace.

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