Literary Locales: The Literary Tourist Trap
As I’ve been traveling around thinking about which literary landmarks of London to visit, the inevitable literary tourist trap locales keep popping up as possibilities. I’m talking about places like the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221b Baker Street.
I’m torn about these pseudo-landmarks. I love that they are inspired by fiction, but I’m also wary. It seems almost Disneylandish to go to a place that has no real association with anything beyond print and see the words on the page made somewhat real.
(“Real” being a debatable term here since obviously nothing in the Holmes Museum could possibly have any association with Sherlock Holmes. But the objects could ostensibly be from the appropriate time period and thus be somewhat “real” even if they were not actually Holmes’ or Watson’s. And introducing objects owned by Doyle could get quite interesting and wormhole-ish!)
That being said, I do love Disneyland, so perhaps I would love these literary tourist traps, too, if I gave them a shot. But then Disneyland is not pretending to be anything other than “the Happiest Place on Earth,” an amalgamation of admittedly fake bits of theme parkery designed solely to lift the spirits and make sure visitors are never too hungry, too cold, too bored, or too overwhelmed. Literary tourist traps are the opposite: they are inherently trying to be something they’re not (i.e. something out of a novel which never really existed). Perhaps it is that disingenuous that creates my gut wariness of them.
What do you all think? Are these places worth going just for the fun of it or should I run screaming for the hills? And should this post be filed under “overthinking it”?