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The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The…

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic (original 1980; edition 2000)

by Alberto Manguel

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1,637146,433 (4.21)41
Title:The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic
Authors:Alberto Manguel
Info:Harcourt (2000), Exp&Updtd, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:fantasy, reference, coffeetable

Work details

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places by Alberto Manguel (1980)

  1. 30
    Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were: Creatures, Places, and People by Michael F. Page (ryvre)
  2. 10
    Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (VanishedOne)
    VanishedOne: One is systematic and compendious, the other flows freely from one impression to another, but both flit between windows onto imaginary vistas.

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» See also 41 mentions

English (12)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The armchair explorer's guide to the geography of imaginative literature. I thought I knew some of the places well, but I learned more when I saw them through the authors' eyes. This book is a source of ideas, but it's mainly just fun. ( )
1 vote GarryRogers | Nov 3, 2012 |
Of interest to me: both authors have translated Jorge Luis Borges.
  MarieTea | Apr 6, 2012 |
I fell upon this book when it was first published like a punter attacking an ice-cream during the interval in an over-hot theatre. Just the title had me drooling, and once inside the book I was in seventh heaven. First of all it took places described in a range of literary works as literally true by giving each a Baedeker-style travel guide entry. Then, like any good Baedeker it provided maps and charts giving visual aids to familiar and unfamiliar locations. There have been at least two revised editions since 1980 but this was the first attempt to give an overview of dystopias, utopias, fantasy worlds and comic geographies from different cultures, languages and centuries. The mock-seriousness is sometimes leavened with equally tongue-in-cheek humour though I found that at times the terseness of some entries could be wearing.

Just a few examples of entries, almost at random, may give you a flavour. Bluebeard’s Castle, for example is described as “somewhere in France; the exact location remains unknown. The castle is famed for its many riches and fine furniture, tapestries and full-length mirrors with frames of gold. Travellers – in particular female ones – should proceed with caution…” Some places are in distant lands, such as King Solomon’s Mines, “discovered by Allan Quatermain’s expedition to Kukuanaland, Africa, in 1884″, or Shangri-La, which can “only be reached on foot and visitors are infrequent.” In contrast Ruritania is “a European kingdom reached by train from Dresden” while Wonderland is “a kingdom under England, inhabited by a pack of cards and a few other creatures.”

Here you can find entries for Atlantis and Oz, Camelot and Treasure Island, Middle Earth and Erewhon, Arkham and Hyperborea, Lilliput and Gormenghast, plus a plethora of more obscure places culled from even more obscure titles. Graham Greenfield’s wonderful line drawings have an antique quality about them which only adds to the sense of strangeness and wonder, while the maps and charts by James Cook are a joy to peruse and explore. Some maps from 1980 needed revision (Narnia, for example, had some crucial omissions and misplacements), but their consistent olde-worlde look (with hachures rather than contour lines, for instance, and Renaissance-style typeface) is charming and lends character to the whole presentation.

In addition to the alphabetical listing of places, the authors include an index of authors and titles to help you cross reference. For example, if you can’t remember some of the cities visited by Marco Polo in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities they are handily included here. Which only helps to underscore that The Dictionary of Imaginary Places is a treasure chest to dip into again and again.

http://wp.me/s2oNj1-places ( )
4 vote ed.pendragon | Jul 18, 2010 |
Book Description: San Diego, CA, U.S.A.: Harcourt Trade Publishers, 1987. Soft Cover. Fine/No Dust jacket as Issued. First Edition. 4to - over 9" - 12" tall. Fifth Printing; 454 pps
  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
This book is absolutely amazing, it is insightful, and it is a must-have for anyone attempting to write fantasy. included are: - mythical places like Valhalla and Hades - classical locations like Thomas More's Utopia, the places in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels... - EVERYWHERE in the Middle Earth universe! (that alone deserves 5 stars) - and recent locations, like J.K. Rowling's Hogwarts!!! Ohhh and the pictures are wonderful, too! ( )
2 vote Ameliaiif | Apr 8, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Manguel, Albertoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guadalupi, Giannimain authorall editionsconfirmed
Clifton-Dey, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greenfield, GrahamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, MarkPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Webb, WilliamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands
For Alessia, Alice Emily, Giulia, Rachel Claire, and Rupert Tobias
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Foreword: In the winter of 1977 Gianni Guadalupi, with whom I had collected an anthology of true and false miracles for a Parmesan publisher, suggested that we prepare a short Baedecker or traveller's guide to some of the places of literature - he was thinking at the time of a guided tour of Paul Feval's vampire city, Selene.
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Atlantis, Hogwarts,
Narnia, Oz, Shangri-La:
Utopias all!

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156008726, Paperback)

Like an ordinary geographical dictionary, The Dictionary of Imaginary Places contains alphabetically organized entries for more than a thousand locales. In this case, however, the locales in question are far from ordinary--they range from the orc-ridden wastes of Tolkien's Middle-earth to the languorous shores of Homer's Island of the Lotus-Eaters. Though for the most part these fantastical lands are mapped and chronicled with straight-faced seriousness, the encyclopedia is not without a certain deadpan wit. For example, the entry for Oz describes "a large rectangular country divided into four small countries.... As a famous visitor once remarked, Oz is not Kansas." This handsome and whimsically charming book, adorned with fanciful line drawings and maps, is rich with enough fictive detail to please the most inveterate reader.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:45 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Contains over 1,200 alphabetically arranged essays that provide information about the history and inhabitants of make-believe realms invented by storytellers from ancient times through the late twentieth century, including Shangri-La, Xanadu, Jurassic Park, and Neverwhere.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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