A New Exhibition Brings Together Maps From ‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ and Other Fictional Worlds

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? »

Octavia E. Butler, <i>Acorn card from the notes of the Parable of the Talents</i> (circa 1994).  © Octavia E. Butler.  Courtesy of The Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.” width=”776″ height=”1024″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/ 2022/01/10.-Butler-Map-of-Acorn-Parable-of-the-Talents-1994-776×1024.jpg 776w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/ 10.-Butler-Map-of-Acorn-Parable-of-the-Talents-1994-227×300.jpg 227w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/10.-Butler -Map-of-Acorn-Parable-of-the-Talents-1994-38×50.jpg 38w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/10.-Butler-Map-of -Acorn-Parable-of-the-Talents-1994-1455×1920.jpg 1455w” sizes=”(max-width: 776px) 100vw, 776px”/></p>
<p class=Octavia E. Butler, Map of Gland from the notes in Parable of the Talents (circa 1994). © Octavia E. Butler. Courtesy of Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.

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 Meanwhile, Octavia E. Butler’s previously unpublished hand-drawn diagrams of her own imaginary landscapes provide insight into her writing processes.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.

Carte des pages de garde de <i>Homer’s Odyssey</i> (1935).  © Oxford University Press, Inc. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.” width=”1024″ height=”779″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com /app/news-upload/2022/01/6.-Odyssey-of-Homer-Map-front-endpapers-1935-1024×779.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022 /01/6.-Odyssey-of-Homer-Map-front-endpapers-1935-300×228.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/6.-Odyssey- of-Homer-Map-front-endpapers-1935-50×38.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p class=Cover page map at Homer’s Odyssey (1935). © Oxford University Press, Inc. Courtesy of Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.

DW Kellogg & Co., <i>The open land of a woman’s heart</i> (1833-42).  © Nancy and Henry Rosin Fund.  Courtesy of The Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.” width=”840″ height=”1024″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/ 2022/01/14.-DW-Kellogg-Co.-Open-Country-Womans-Heart-1833-42-840×1024.jpg 840w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01 /14.-DW-Kellogg-Co.-Open-Country-Womans-Heart-1833-42-246×300.jpg 246w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/14. -DW-Kellogg-Co.-Open-Country-Womans-Heart-1833-42-41×50.jpg 41w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/14.-DW- Kellogg-Co.-Open-Country-Women-Heart-1833-42-1574×1920.jpg 1574w” sizes=”(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px”/></p>
<p class=DW Kellogg & Co., The open land of a woman’s heart (1833-42). © Nancy and Henry Rosin Fund. Courtesy of Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.

Map of Ludwig Holbergs Nicolai Klimii iter svbterranevm (1741). © The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens.

David Lilburn, In media res (2006). © David Lilburn, 2021. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.” width=”1024″ height=”685″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/ app/news-upload/2022/01/7.-Lilburn-The-Quays-2006-1024×685.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/7.-Lilburn -The-Quays-2006-300×201.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/7.-Lilburn-The-Quays-2006-50×33.jpg 50w” sizes= “(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/>

David Lilburn, “The Docks” from In media res (2006). © David Lilburn, 2021. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.

Une carte de l'<i>treasure island</i> by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883).  Courtesy of The Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.” width=”690″ height=”1024″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/ 2022/01/1.-Stevenson-Map-of-Treasure-Island-1883-690×1024.jpg 690w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/1.-Stevenson-Map -of-Treasure-Island-1883-202×300.jpg 202w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/1.-Stevenson-Map-of-Treasure-Island-1883-34×50 .jpg 34w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/01/1.-Stevenson-Map-of-Treasure-Island-1883-1293×1920.jpg 1293w” sizes=”(max- width: 690px) 100vw, 690px”/></p>
<p class=A map by Robert Louis Stevenson treasure island (1883). Courtesy of Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens.

McLoughlin Bros., "Around the world with Nellie Bly" (1890).  Courtesy of Jay T. Last and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

McLoughlin Bros., “Around the World with Nellie Bly” (1890). Courtesy of Jay T. Last and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

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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