Chapter One

IMG_1078The hunt for literary ghosts has compelled me to travel to many novel-worthy sites around the world. With this blog, I dive into the inspiration behind writers – and a few other historical figures – from the Brontes to Keats, Steinbeck to Twain.

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The journey…

I’ve stood on Jane Austen’s front porch, at the foot of John Keats’ bed and over Percy and Mary Shelley’s gravestone. Deep in the moors of Northern England, I hiked six miles in the rain to Emily Bronte’s assumed motivation behind Wuthering Heights.

I’ve twice traveled to Scotland to the land of my ancestors. Edinburgh’s winding alleys and steep, historic stairways immediately captured my heart. The inspiration of the Highlands is undeniable, as proven by the country’s rugged scribes.

I’ve traipsed through Alcott’s Orchard House, and toasted the American dream on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave in Maryland. I’ve waltzed through Jane Austen’s Georgian ballrooms, explored Mark Twain‘s upstate New York haunts and stood in awe at Thoreau‘s Walden Pond. Closer to home, I’ve stood in the inner sanctum of Eugene O’Neill‘s Tao House, climbed to the site of Stevenson‘s “Silverado Squatters,” and absorbed the ruins of Jack London‘s “Wolf House.”

I started this blog in 2010, after completing a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from St. Mary’s College of California. My thesis focused on my life-long passion for literary history. Specifically I wrote about the legacies of California writers John Steinbeck, John Muir, Eugene O’Neill and Robert Louis Stevenson. It was a project that changed my life.

John Steinbeck wrote about the walls of a home absorbing a person’s soul, comparing the current inhabitants to the “living fringe,” built upon eons of foundation. That sentiment formed the basis of my thesis and spurred this blog.

Join me as I sift through the living fringe to discover what stories lie below.

-Julie Dalrymple

“I have the integrity of sixty generations under me and the firm and fragrant sense that I shall join that pediment and support another living fringe and we will all be one. I’ve never known this sweet emulsion of mortality and continuum before.”
– John Steinbeck

Logo inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night, what I interpret as his final legacy.