I've alluded before to the long list of literary sites I have been compiling over the years. I haven't been to see any in quite a few years now and while I haven't lost all interest in them the lists have become lopsided and unwieldy in places, as well as inconvenient to keep up. Nonetheless I have been keeping them up, and I'm going to run some of the statistics here (this only counts things I have yet to see), starting with "Nations"
1. England--216 I organized my countries according to FIFA regulations, so England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are counted as separate countries (no literary site on my current list is located on the Isle of Man)
2. United States--126
Obviously I need to read more German literature, and where are the Spanish? (Spain is in 14th place currently, with 7 sites) Italy's number is inflated due to the Romans and the circumstance that a lot of English authors either lived there or wrote stories and poems about specific and easily identifiable places.
1. Middlesex (London)-71
I should have stuck to the ancient county boundaries, but when I began my listings, I recorded them according to the re-organization of 1974. Apparently there was a further re-organization in the 90s however, so many of my designations no longer signify anything.
On another note, the re-organization of internal boundaries that have sufficed for centuries has been one of the obvious symptoms of a nation's decline (widespread epicureanism is another), going back at least as far as the Roman Empire. This is why emotionally at least I am against doing this in the United States (or tearing up the Constitution and writing a new one, as some have argued is necessary) even if there are valid arguments for doing so.
2. Kent--14. I am continually surprised at how well Kent, which is not thought of as a literary region, does. Canterbury is the leading point accumulator in this county; besides the oft-referenced cathedral, a lot of writers either were born or lived there (Marlowe, Fletcher, Conrad, Maugham). Henry IV, king and also Shakesperean character, is buried in the cathedral as well.
3. Dorsetshire--13. Famous for Hardy, but Shelley and his wife and her parents, all noted authors, have connections to Bournemouth.
4. Cumbria--10. The Lake District. Wordsworth, Coleridge, DeQuincey, et al.
5. Somerset(shire?)--9. No dominant town or author (Bath used to belong to this county I think, but in my system is listed under the post-70s abomination of "Avon"), just a variety of different people.
Oxford and Cambridge come in much weaker than I would have thought. All of Cambridgeshire only has 3 sites on my list.
1. (Tie) Massachusetts/New York-24
Nearly all of these places are within easy driving distance of my house, which should be proof to you that I have not been carrying out the project of visiting the actual places with same fanaticism with which I have kept up the lists.
3. Mississippi--8. Not surprising. I was actually on my way to Mississippi once, getting as far as New Madrid, Missouri, before my wife made me turn around due to severe tornado warnings all across the area to which we were heading. That was in 2003, so I have still never made it there.
5. (tie) Connecticut/New Jersey--6. These are mostly just birthplaces and graves, some of them obscure. For example William Ellery Leonard was born in Plainfield, NJ--I can find no other information on him, though I assume he is buried in Madison, Wisconsin. The Revolutionary War poet Philip Freneau, according to the 1904 edition of his collected works, is buried at the "Philip Freneau cemetery" in Matawan, NJ, but as I cannot find any mention of this place on the internet, I question whether it actually exists or not.
2. City--12. The square mile. This is where pretty much everyone pre-1800 lived and died. Unfortunately not much of that era is left.
3. (tie) Bloomsbury/Unknown--4. Unknown refers to people (usually very remote, like Spenser) whose birthplace is given as simply 'London', no street or house known.
5. (tie) Marylebone/Strand--3. A lot of people seemed to live in Marylbone in the late Victorian/Edwardian period, 1880-1914 or so. It's where Sherlock Holmes lived, I'm pretty sure. I don't remember what's in the Strand.
1. (tie) Ayrshire/Dumfriesshire/Midlothian--6