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Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Do You Know Your Literary Geography?
of people are planning family vacations for the summer and one place to
consider for ideas on where to go if you love books is a cool site, www.PlacingLiterature.com.
website may not be able to tell you which beach, national park, or natural
wonder to visit, but it does highlight over 3,000 locations that serve as
settings from novels, short stories, poems, and plays. In the past three years, readers, librarians,
publishers, educators, and authors have mapped out the street corners where a
significant scene took place from a favorite piece of literature. For example, locate Jackson Island, near
Hannibal, Missouri, and you’ll see it’s the island introduced in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
a creative way to learn geography and study up on literary trivia and cultural lore.
when clicking on a city – or by author or title – csn view a photo of the
location, search Google or Wikipedia for more information on the place,
purchase the book from a local bookstore, write a review on Good Reads, share
the place on social media, and report they’ve been on that particular location.
Literary explorer should be amused at the site.
crowdsourcing website invites anyone to make an entry. You can follow them on
Facebook.com/placingliterature and @placinglit.
The site recently issued a press release to call attention to the revamping of the three-year-old site, saying this:
the literature of a place or browsing the location from a particular author or
book has never been easier. You can now
search by location (Verona, Central Park, Castle Elsinore); by author (Cormac
McCarthy, Bernat Metge, Robert Ludlum); or by book (Canterbury Tales, Anne of
Green Gables, Love in the Time of Cholera).
You can also browse collections of literary locations that have been
curated by museums, libraries, publishers and cultural organizations around the
world, including by the State Library of Queensland (Australia), St. Thomas Moore
Chapel at Yale University, the Amistad Center, the Catalan Literary Heritage
Network and the Mayor of Doonesbury. Featured
authors such as Hugh Howey, Assaf Gavron, Matthew Thomas and Brian Freeman have
also created maps of their own novels.
many books exist in places that aren’t real or take place somewhere else in
space. Don’t look for a map of Heaven,
Hell, Mars or the Matrix any time soon.
But this attempt to map out the locations of books and authors is one to
be applauded and represents a modern way to highlight the rich literary culture
that we live in.