10 of the Most Depressing Places in Literature

After reading Tara Isabella Burton’s American Reader essay, “The Geography of Melancholy,” it’s natural to find yourself thinking about the most depressing cities, towns, and municipalities in literature. Burton points out that, in the real world, “Nearly every historic city has its brand of melancholy indelibly associated with it — each variety linked to the scars the city bears.” She also connects writers and the cities that influenced them — “Baudelaire’s Paris, Zweig’s Vienna, Morris’s Trieste.” There are many more, of course — here are a selection of other depressing places and the writers they inspired.

Courtesy of the British Library.

Courtesy of the British Library.

Charles Dickens: London

It’s impossible to think of Dickens and not think of London, and to this day, after over a century’s worth of changes, it’s also still hard to think of London without thinking of the Victorian-era city he describes: one of the greatest, most depressing, dreary, darkest, and terrible places in the history of literature.