Mapping Fiction

Loren Latker, “Shamus Town” The Raymond Chandler Mystery Map of Los Angeles, the Wonder City of America, 2014. Map, 39 3/4 x 26 1/2 in. © Loren Latker, 2021. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

I have always been intrigued by the sense of place in novels. In fact, during my undergraduate days at university, I once managed to deliver the same paper on the geography of place to both my Geography class and a class on Modern Fiction. So, of course, I am intrigued by a new exhibition at the Huntington Library and Museum called Mapping Fiction. 

The show highlights the way in which mapped spaces have played a role in fiction, e.g., Joyce’s Dublin, Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous island. Drawn entirely from The Huntington’s collections, “Mapping Fiction” includes 70 items focused on novels and maps from the 16th through the 20th century—largely early editions of books that include elaborate maps of imaginary worlds. Among the highlights are Lewis Carroll’s 1876 edition of The Hunting of the Snark, Robert Louis Stevenson’s maps from Treasure Island and Kidnapped, J. R. R. Tolkien’s map from the trilogy The Lord of the Rings, and science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler’s hand-drawn maps from notes for Parable of the Talents (1998) and her unpublished novel Parable of the Trickster. In addition to Butler’s archives, the show draws on The Huntington’s archival collections of Jack and Charmian London, Christopher Isherwood, and others, as well as the institution’s rich print holdings in travel narratives, English literature, and the history of science.

Octavia E. Butler, Map of Acorn from notes for Parable of the Talents, ca. 1994. (Detail) Manuscript on binder paper, 8 1/2 x 11 in. © Octavia E. Butler. Reprinted by permission of Writers House, LCC acting as agent for the estate. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Mapping Fiction will be open from Jan.15, 2022 to May 12, 2022.


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Readers Pick Best Book Of The Past 125 Years

The New York Times Book Review has celebrated 125th anniversary by asking readers to nominate the best book of the past 125 years. The reader submissions were wittled down to a list of 25, which were voted on by more than 200,000  Times readers. The list included expected favories like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The big winner was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. A NYT critic says of the choice, “As an adult, I can perceive why the novel might hold enduring appeal for many and enduring repulsion to perhaps just as many. I cannot fathom the complexities of teaching it to elementary school students in 2021, especially after reading online accounts from teachers on both the ‘pro’ and ‘against’ sides.”

The rest of the Top 5 list include:

2) The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
3) 1984 by George Orwell
4) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
5) Beloved by Toni Morrison

You can learn more about the selection process, as well as more on the popular nominations at The New York Times.

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Dream within a Dream

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe

A Dream Within A Dream


by Edgar Allan Poe
(published 1850)


Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

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If music be the food of love…


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Some Habits Are Good for You

Judging by the state of public discourse in the United States, these shocking statistics are not all that surprising.

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Down the Rabbit-Hole Again

If you are a regular visitor to Travel Between The Pages, you are probably aware that our primary goal is to bore you with every new published version of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland that we discover. The most recent find is the 1929 edition with pen and ink illustrations by the Hungarian-born, American artist Willy Pogany.

Until this version was published, Alice was typically portrayed as a little girl in mid-19th century garb, but Pogany updated Carroll’s heroine to be taller, thinner, and older. He also dressed  Alice in a short, plaid skirt, short sleeve top with a tie, and knee socks. Her hair is bobbed in the pageboy style. In essence, a child of the Roaring Twenties rather than the Victorian era.






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Living in a Simulation

Tom Clark (1941-2018)


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Russia’s Cultural Capital

I’ve only had the opportunity to visit Saint Petersburg once, but I loved every minute that I spent in Russia’s cultural capital. The absolutely stunning video below offers enchanting aerial views of the gorgeous city. Saint Petersburg is captured in all of its glory by Timelab, which created an amazing tour during the city’s famed White Nights.


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No Direction Home

Amsterdam-based Austrian graphic designer Philipp Doringer’s obsession with Bob Dylan has resulted in the “Atlas Of No Direction Home”, a cartographic gazetteer of all the locations relevant to Bob Dylan’s career. The book contains all the locations relevant to Bob Dylan’s career. It lists all the places mentioned in his songs, the towns where his studio albums were recorded, the venues of his tours, and other places that played an important role in his life.

The atlas is organized through a geographic coordinates system. The longitudinal coordinates, which run West to East, W 180° to E 180°, are used as page numbers.
Since Duluth, Minnesota is Bob Dylan’s birthplace the book begins with the longitude coordinates of this city, W 92°. From there the book goes around the world once, from west to east, going over every degree like a scanner and collecting all places located there. In addition to the database, maps show all the places mentioned in the book, as well as the locations of all the venues for Dylan’s ongoing Never Ending Tour.

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Now Get Back To Work


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