Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

August 5, 1999

Literary Maps Are Featured in New Library of Congress Publication

Language of the Land: The Library of Congress Book of Literary Maps, an annotated, illustrated guide to more than 230 literary maps in the collections of the Library's Geography and Map Division, has just been published. The authors are Martha Hopkins of the Interpretive Programs Office and Michael Buscher of the Geography and Map Division. The book, inspired by the exhibit of the same name, culminates a three-year education and reading promotion project funded by a grant to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress from the Lila Wallace- Reader's Digest Fund.

The authors define a literary map as one that "records the location and identity of geographical places and features associated with authors and their works." These maps serve "as a guide to the worlds of novelists, poets, dramatists, and other authors of imaginative literature." In his preface, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington invites educators to join with the Library "in finding creative ways of using these unique educational tools."

The book is divided into eight richly illustrated chapters: World Literature; Individual Regions and Countries; Britain; United States; Regions of the United States; Individual States and Cities; Specific Books and Authors; and Imaginary Worlds, Folklore, Myths, Fairy Tales, and Nursery Rhymes. Maps for 41 U.S. states, as well as major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, are included. Other map subjects include Sherlock Holmes, Black Writers, and Thoreau's Walden Pond; classic books such as Huckleberry Finn, The Red Badge of Courage, Moby Dick, and The Call of the Wild; and the wholly imaginary landscapes of Oz, Middle Earth, and Neverland. Specific authors represented by individual maps range from popular fiction writers such as Richard Adams and Margaret Mitchell to famous figures such as Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, and William Wordsworth. A 20-map color portfolio begins with "The Literary Map of Latin America" and concludes with "An Ancient Mappe of Fairyland, Newly Discovered and Set Forth." Ms. Hopkins contributes a historical introduction to literary maps, which are described by former Geography and Map Division Chief Ralph E. Ehrenberg in his foreword as "a little known but fascinating cartographic genre." Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole summarizes the overall project in his afterword.

Language of the Land: The Library of Congress Book of Literary Maps -- a 304-page, 10- by 10-inch, hardbound book -- is available for $50 from the Library of Congress Sales Shop and from the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; fax: 202 512-2250. The GPO stock number is 030-001-00178-4, and the ISBN is 0-8444-0963-4. Credit card orders may be placed with the Library of Congress Sales Shop by calling (202) 707-0204.

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PR 99-121
ISSN 0731-3527

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