Monday, March 20, 2006

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi

Lodidhapura is a city in the Cambodian jungle ruled by The Leper King. Rotundia is an island off the coast of Britain renowned for the good-naturedness of its inhabitants. The Root Beer River cuts through the Valley of Mo, southeast of the Land of Oz.

You won't find any of these or 1,200 other destinations in a conventional atlas. They are all the product of fiction writers' fancies (Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edith Nesbit and L. Frank Baum, respectively). But they can all be found in a volume that has been one of my most treasured reference books for a quarter of a century.

"The Dictionary of Imaginary Places" was written by two literary scholars -- Argentinean Alberto Manguel and Italian Gianni Guadalupi, who encountered so much imaginary geography in their fiction reading and opera listening that they decided to collect them all between two covers.

Not only are there tongue-in-check, detailed descriptions of fictional cities, islands, countries and continents, there are detailed maps. Line drawings of places such as Wolf's Glenn in Bohemia (the setting for Weber's opera "Der Freischütz") and the Avenue of Palms in Pala ("The Island" by Aldous Huxley) add to the fanciful texture of the dictionary.

You can find the review here

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