Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Map of the Land of Books

Strange Maps has reproduced a fanciful map of the "land of books" drawn by German illustrator Alphons Woelfle in 1938.

Comments to the post have helpfully provided English translations to the various labels. The Blog points out that:

Plotting out imagined places on a map as if they were “real” countries is a favourite trope in curious cartography. The artificial equation of place and meaning allows for double-entendres and other humorous leaps of the imagination on which this allegorical form of cartography thrives. As a sub-genre of cartography, it has been around since at least La carte de tendre, an 18th-century French map of love’s topography (discussed in entry #245 of this blog). Other examples previously discussed include a Map on Temperance (#258) or a German map of the Empire of Love (#59).

I notice that the map pays almost as much attention to the material production of books as to their literary genres. The river that flows through the land of book sellers as called the "paper stream" and has sources in the land of papermills and the lake of tints...

No comments: