It's true; we find the secret lives of others fascinating. Especially if those others are writers. We get to know them through their work, and we yearn to learn more about them as people...
We feel a kinship, with their experiences or with their characters, and we begin to imagine what their lives must be like. We read biographies about them, tour their homes and visit their graves, all in an effort to gain insight into their own particular genius. And nowhere is the essence of the artist more present than in the bedroom. It's here that one can intuit much about a writer's process. Is it a hermit's lair? A sanctuary? A work space? Is it the place where they do all of their best work, or the place that allows them to leave that work behind?
Whatever it may be, often what it is most is a space that reminds us that, genius aside, writers are people... just like you and I.
Top row, left to right:
1. Truman Capote: The author's bedroom at his Hamptons beach house is simple, but elegant.
2. Virginia Woolf : Full of details — the bookshelves house the author's artful collection of books, many of which she recovered with colored paper.
3. Ernest Hemingway: Light floods the Nobel Prize-winning author's bedroom at his Key West home.
4. Flannery O'Connor: The author did most of her writing at the desk in her bedroom. The aluminum crutches were used to help her get around her parents' dairy farm.
5. Alexander Masters: This author's bedroom reflects his process — he just wakes up and starts writing. The crocodile above his bed is a talisman and was featured on the cover of his book, Stuart: A Life Backwards.
Second row, left to right:
6. William S. Burroughs: Patti Smith, a friend of the Beat writer, sits on the bed in his room at The Bunker on the Bowery.
7. Sylvia Plath: The Pulitzer Prize-winning author stayed for several months at the Barbizon Hotel for Women. This image is taken from an advertisement for the hotel and suggests what Plath's room may have looked like at that time.
8. Henry David Thoreau: Intent on simple living, Thoreau furnished his 10'x15' home with only the necessary basics - a bed, a table, a desk, and three chairs.
9. Victor Hugo : Dark, rich and red - Hugo's bedroom at his home on the Place de Vosges in Paris is all that you would expect from a writer heavily influenced by the Romanticism movement.
10. Emily Dickinson: Most of the poet's writing was done at a small writing table in her bedroom.
Bottom row, left to right:
11. Miranda Seymour: Another author that prefers writing at a small desk in her bedroom, this writer has slept in the same room, on and off, since she was 14 years old.
12. Mary Roach: One might expect something a bit more macabre from the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, but the bedroom in the writer's craftsman home in Oakland, California is simple and serene.
13. Marcel Proust: A victim of asthma and severe allergies, Proust's bedroom was a masterwork in shelter and seclusion. All apertures were shielded or sealed, and the walls and ceiling were covered in cork to protect the author from the dust and noise of the outside world.
14. Michael Morpurgo: Technically a writing room — the author of War Horse designed this room around the bed, where he does all of his writing — in longhand.
15. William Faulkner: More of an office with a bed — the Nobel prize-winning author outlined the plot of The Fable on the walls of the room and then shellacked his notes to preserve them.
MORE ON WRITER'S HOMES:
• Writers' Houses
• Writers' Rooms on The Guardian
• Architectural Digest: Truman Capote at Home in the Hamptons
• 5 Legendary Writers' Homes on Oprah
(Images: 1. Architectural Digest, 2.Treasure Hunt, 3.The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, 4.FLAVORWIRE, 5.the guardian, 6.FLAVORWIRE, 7.FLAVORWIRE, 8.Apartment Therapy, 9.Writers' Houses, 10.Museum 10, 11.The Guardian, 12.Apartment Therapy, 13.Biographies/Memoirs, 14.The Guardian, 15.Apartment Therapy)
Re-edited from a post originally published March 23, 2012 - DF