As he wrote Moby Dick, Herman Melville imagined that his study had become a whaling ship's cabin. In pencil tracings still visible today, William Faulkner plotted the intricate webs of his fiction on his bedroom walls. In these and myriad other ways, the imaginations of the twenty-one writers profiled in this book transformed their surroundings, even as those surroundings shaped the character and context of their classic works. The photographic and literary portraits in this elegant and engaging book reveal as never before how important place - a sense of home - has been in the creation of out greatest writing.

Ranging from Big Sur to coastal Maine, and including writers as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, Frederick Douglass, and Louisa May Alcott, American Writers at Home takes readers on a tour of the American literary heritage that is at once grand and intimate. We ramble through the turn-of-the-century estates of Edith Wharton and Mark Twain and nestle in the humbler homes of Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. We are admitted into private - and in most cases remarkably unchanged - spaces that bore witness to genius, where Edna St. Vincent Millay's dresses still hang in the closet and Nathaniel Hawthorne's thoughts remain inscribed on the windowpane in his study. Throughout, we see how the personal passions, creative idiosyncrasies, and often profound sorrows of these writers have shaped the books we love most. Brilliantly literate and stunningly evocative, this extraordinary book will be a keepsake that every American reader will cherish.