Mapping the Imagination

When you were a kid, did you ever play pirates and draw a treasure map purely from your imagination?

Adults do that, too. If you are a writer, fictional map-making can be the key to your story, as in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Or it can be an important embellishment, like Harry Potter’s Marauder’s Map. Either way, fictional maps play an important role in literature.

I’ve just run across a book that explores (pun intended) this connection between maps and their stories — The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands, edited by Huw Lewis-Jones. The book is divided into four parts — Make Believe, Writing Maps, Creating Maps, and Reading Maps, with explanatory essays in each section. For example, Daniel Reeve describes drawing maps for The Hobbit films.

So if any of your favorite stories includes a map, this would be worth checking out.

The Writer’s Map is 256 pages with 220 color plates. The complete description is at https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/W/bo29614443.html.

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