If you've ever longed to walk in the footsteps of Hugo and Hemingway, Shakespeare, Dickens, Dante and Yeats, then Bloom's Literary Guides should be your go-to series for prowling the literary haunts (both real and imagined) of Dublin, London, Paris and Rome. Series editor and literary critic Harold Bloom (who also is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University) lends his considerable scholarship to these portable, information-packed guides, which explore four fabled cities that sheltered many of Western civilization's leading literary lights.

Each of the guidebooks contain Bloom's erudite essay on the entwinement of place in Western literature, as well as his introductory remarks on that city's major literary figures. Easy-to-read and entertaining, these books blend practical travel information with a compact historical, cultural, literary and geographic overview for each city discussed: to peruse any one of these guides is to take a mini-course in humanities. Though short on navigable maps, and definitely not a source for the minutiae of travel planning (such as lodging and restaurants), the series is replete with references to those authors, literary works, characters, places and things celebrated in Western literature and culture.

Further reading lists, a Places of Interest appendix, and lists of relevant websites are also included. These fascinating guides might inspire would-be travelers to re-read their favorite literature or pick up a classic tale for the very first time.

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