Even writers creating elaborate fictional landscapes sometimes need direction. This is clear in “Mapping of fiction“, a new exhibition at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in California, which examines how authors and cartographers have mapped fantastical worlds both similar and different from our own.
The show coincides with the centenary of James Joyce’s opus, Ulysses, and of course, several relics related to the book – including a copy of the first edition, a typed draft of one of its chapters, and various Dublin intaglio prints as described by the author – are on display.
But it wasn’t just the anniversary of Joyce’s novel that inspired the show, explained Karla Nielsen, curator of the Huntington Literary Collections who organized the effort.
“Joyce absolutely did not want Ulysses released with a diagram, a map of Dublin, any kind of explanation really,” Nielsen said in a declaration. “Its resilience made me think about how the cards work when inserted into a printed novel. How do they influence how readers imagine the story? »
Some 70 pieces collected in the museum’s collection offer viewers answers to the curator’s prompt. Highlights include elaborate maps that accompanied early editions of JRR Tolkien The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Robert Louis Stevenson treasure island and Kidnapped, and George RR Martin A game of thrones. Meanwhile, Octavia E. Butler’s previously unpublished hand-drawn diagrams of her own imaginary landscapes provide insight into her writing processes. Parable of the Talents and Parable of the Trickster (which was never published).
There are plenty of treats for fans of rare books, like the first editions of Miguel de Cervantes The ingenious gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (The ingenious gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha), by Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels, and Jules Verne Around the world in 80 days. The latter is presented alongside a vintage board game inspired by Nellie Bly, a journalist who herself toured the world following the publication of Verne’s novel. (It only took him 72 days).
See more images from “Mapping Fiction” below.
“Mapping of fictionis on view until May 2 at the Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.
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